Posts filed under ‘Sexual Abuse & Assault’

Slavery: Not Just in Egypt Anymore

President Barack Obama views the Emancipation ...

Image via Wikipedia

Remember the old bible stories about Joseph and his coat of many colors? Joseph was sold into slavery in Egypt. Then he rose to become the right hand man of the Pharaoh himself. Several generations later, his ancestors and the descendants of his brothers were slaves. Moses led them out of the land of Egypt, parting the red sea with his staff.

Then, remember how several years later a bunch of immoral white men in Europe and the United States kidnapped, mutilated, tortured and killed many Africans on big seafaring vessels? Remember how the ones who survived were later sold off to plantation owners in the South who then treated them abysmally? Maybe you don’t. Do yourself a favor and read Uncle Tom’s Cabin and Roots. Remember how Abraham Lincoln set those slaves free with a little document we like to call the Emancipation Proclamation?

Slavery is alive and well in America and throughout the world. Only now slavery is not defined by your religion or the color of your skin. It’s dependent upon your gender and your social status. Women, girls, and the poor are slaves, not just in the rest of the world but here in this country. Undocumented workers are smuggled into this country at the mercy of unscrupulous traders.  Then they are either sold into slavery outright or dropped across the border with a debt owed to their smugglers that they will never repay in their lifetimes: the new indentured servitude.

It’s happening to our young girls, as young as 13, courted sweetly by men whose future plans are to sell them in prostitution. The same sweet guy who treated these young women like princesses later rapes, beats, and drugs them. And rap music sanctifies and glorifies such behavior for whole new generations of young men, with its tales of pimps working hard to manage their bitches and hos. Yeah, it’s hard out there for a pimp. So hard, in fact, that we gave the men their own Academy Award winning anthem.

Our own military, in its efforts to reduce military personnel in Iraq and Afghanistan, have contracted the work of its non-essential personnel to civilians. These civilians are recruited by firms who contract with companies that contract directly with the Pentagon. Who knows just how many channels the money is laundered through until it gets to the hands of the slave traders? But if you’re an American, your tax dollars are paying to buy slaves.

Poor men and women are promised big money in exotic locations only to find out that they will be forced to Iraq and Afghanistan against their will, kept in sub-human conditions, abused and sometimes sexually battered. They will dodge bombs, shells, missiles and bullets on a daily basis. They will be hungry. They will not be allowed to leave. Almost all of them will not receive the pay they are promised. Some will not be paid at all.

Yes, slavery is alive and well and living in America. The new slave is poor and foreign or female and young. And America is buying.

http://www.vanityfair.com/politics/features/2011/05/sex-trafficking-201105?printable=true

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/06/06/110606fa_fact_stillman

June 29, 2011 at 11:44 pm 3 comments

Towelhead

Cover of "Towelhead"

Cover of Towelhead

Towelhead is the unfortunate title of a 2007 movie written and directed by Alan Ball (Cybill, American Beauty, Six Feet Under). The movie is based on a novel of the same title and concerns a 13 year old girl who is experiencing puberty and her own sexual awakening at roughly the same time. The story has a theme of racism, but it’s not the predominant theme.

Jasira is living with her mother and experiencing ridicule by classmates because she is developing. As such, she has hair at her bikini line. Because her mother has forbidden her from shaving, the kids tease her mercilessly. So, mom’s live in boyfriend volunteers to shave her himself. And this is where the fun begins because Jasira’s mother kicks her out to live with her father.

Is she trying to protect her daughter? You be the judge. She tells her daughter that this is her fault for how she acts around men. And also, of course, because she doesn’t watch how she dresses in her own home.

Jasira’s father isn’t any better. He backhands her on her first morning there for coming to the breakfast table in a pajama top that displays her midriff. He forbids her to wear tampons. He also doesn’t allow shaving or makeup. He finds himself a Greek girlfriend through his work at NASA. He lets the girlfriend put makeup on Jasira but tells her to wash it off before he even backs out of the driveway. This is the first of many nights and weekends that she will spend alone because her father is with his girlfriend.

Jasira begins babysitting for a neighbor boy. They find his father’s stash of pornographic magazines, which he hasn’t taken the trouble to hide very well. The father comes home early one day and catches the two of them going through his porn.

The neighbor promises not to tattle to her father, but then he wants her to sit down next to him, asks her if she likes to look at the magazines, and tells her that she has to “pay a toll” to get past him. She makes it out without paying the toll, but this is inappropriate behavior for any grown man toward a 13 year old girl, let alone a married man with his own family. If you feel sick already, then stop watching here ‘cause it just gets worse.

The neighbor takes her out to dinner at a Mexican restaurant while her father and his family are gone for the weekend. He’s a reservist, and the movie is set in Houston during the Persian Gulf War. He tells her he’s been called up and that he really needs to be with her before he leaves. She has sex with him and is then surprised to see him pulling into his driveway the very next day.

Eventually, Jasira, who also begins a sexual relationship with an African American boy her own age, is befriended by a pregnant neighbor lady. The neighbor lady buys Jasira an age appropriate book about sex and puberty and gives Jasira a key to her home. When Jasira’s father finds one of the creepy pedophile’s porno magazines in her room, he beats her in the car on the drive home, and Jasira runs to the home of the neighbor woman.

When we see Jasira’s father drive her to the hospital to be with the neighbor woman as she delivers her child, we think things just might turn out alright for Jasira. Along the way, she’s learned to stand up for herself, and she turns in her neighbor for statutory rape.

Towelhead is a sad movie. It was probably a sad novel as well. It’s disturbing to watch, and if you have a little crush on Aaron Eckhart you should probably skip it since this movie will definitely kill it for you.

The movie misses the mark with its message, for while it does give Jasira the ability to find her voice to say no, it doesn’t cause her to understand that she’s too young to appropriately deal with the consequences of her sexual actions. She makes her boyfriend wear a condom, but I doubt if a girl who’s so sheltered, with limited friendships, could deal with the inevitable breakup that will happen one day. Jasira isn’t mature enough yet to be having sex, and the pathetic thing is that it’s her own immaturity that also causes her to be unable to recognize this fact about herself.

June 14, 2011 at 11:50 pm 2 comments

Who Is Innocent?

Anti-Death Penalty crusader Sister Helen Prejean

Image via Wikipedia

People like Pete DeGraaf anger me, people who are so narrow-minded as to see only their own viewpoint on any given subject and to be wholly convinced that their side is the righteous one. Smart people know that there are two sides to every war. Which side is the “good” one is sometimes a random designation made decades later by history books and determined in large part by military might and strategy.

I like to think that if I were ever pregnant as the result of a rape that I would give birth to that baby. I do think that would be the right thing to do, but to be told that I have no choice in the matter and to have a pregnancy from a rape be equated with the inconvenience of a flat tire or paying for life insurance…just goes to show you that DeGraaf thinks that being raped is one of those inevitabilities of life that a woman should be prepared for. It sickens me that anyone with so little empathy or compassion for women would dare to call himself a representative of Christ. Somewhere in Heaven, God is vomiting right now.

The thing that I find the saddest about people like DeGraaf is that when you ask them why they are so vehemently opposed to choice, they always mention, of course, that abortion is murder. They say that they are opposed to any taking of life that’s not done by God. They believe in the sanctity of life. And you ask them about assisted suicide. The answer they give seems consistent. But ask them about the death penalty or ask them about war…you’ll get a very different answer.

I don’t want to get into the particulars of a debate about war and the ethics of war. I don’t have enough time to address it in this blog post except to say that “this” war (Iraq & Afghanistan) on “terrorism” is not anymore ethical than the one we lost in Vietnam. This is to say…that it isn’t. We have no business being there. And yet a guy like DeGraaf I can say with absolute certainty, supports the “War on Terrorism” and would question my very patriotism for daring to examine America’s real motivations.

I’m also certain that a guy like DeGraaf backs the death penalty. I haven’t spent any time looking at his website or his voting record, and yet I can tell you with absolute certainty, that DeGraaf believes in the death penalty as if there were Bible verses that support it. That’s ‘cause I’m psychic like that…either that or DeGraaf is a walking, breathing, talking caricature of a certain cretin of American zombies who think alike about everything.

Okay. There are Bible verses that seemingly support the death penalty. I’ll give you that. But there are Bible verses that seem to support slavery as well. I’ve got a brain. I can think. And when a man who says abortion is murder and says that he believes in the “sanctity of all life” also supports the death penalty and the War For Our Gas Tanks, then I call Bullshit! I call Hypocrite!

When you get into a debate with one of these people they inevitably mention that it’s a question of innocence. An unborn baby is innocent. A convicted murderer is not. A jihadist is not. But how do we determine innocence? An unborn baby that’s the product of incest ruins the life and future of a 9 year old girl who’s been raped by her father. That’s not the baby’s fault, or is it? If you hurt someone by accident, then have you hurt them less than if you did it by malicious intent?

I’m not trying to call into question the innocence of an unborn baby. Not seriously. But the people who are working to take away a woman’s choice are saying that pregnancies that result from rape or incest are only 10% or less of total unplanned pregnancies. Some estimates claim 1% or less. They want to take away a woman’s right to choose because less than 1% of unplanned pregnancies are the result of rape. What if 1% of people on death row are innocent? How does DeGraaf feel about the death penalty then?

I’ve read recently about some people who are making some headway towards eradicating the death penalty. One of them is Danalynn Recer, a mitigator in Houston, Texas. She was written up in The New Yorker. The work she’s doing involves presenting mitigating circumstances to juries in the penalty phases of capital murder cases. Simply put, she makes the perpetrators seem like human beings. She tells their life stories leading up to their monstrous crimes.

In addition to the work of mitigators, the death penalty has taken some hits recently because of The Innocence Project. The Innocence Project is a non-profit group based out of New York City that has worked with convicted men across the United States to use DNA evidence in order to exonerate innocent men who were wrongfully imprisoned. In many cases it has prevented innocent men from being executed.

I used to be staunchly opposed to the death penalty. I’m a little more open minded recently. You might ask why. And I would say Osama bin Laden. While I absolutely feel that the Christian response at someone’s death is not to take to the streets and rejoice, I realize that I didn’t think there was anything wrong with killing him. One of bin Laden’s sons and some of the more bleeding heart liberal of my countrymen have come forward with questions on why we didn’t take bin Laden into custody and put him on trial.

And I know why…because it’s pointless. He’s the mastermind behind 9/11. He’s taken credit for it. And even if he were to receive a trial…where would it be held? How would he receive a fair trial? Where would we find a “jury of his peers” beyond a terrorist training camp in some rural Pakistani village, and then…would justice prevail?

So, what I will say about the death penalty is this, that like with abortion, I believe that it should be safe, legal and extremely rare. Maybe in the case of the death penalty, I should say humane, legal and extremely rare. Most European nations and developed countries no longer practice the death penalty. These other countries tend to have significantly lower rates of violent crime than the United States does.

And so, I think that we need to realize that the death penalty is not an effective deterrent. Maybe something about it satisfies our need for vengeance. An eye for an eye. But what most people don’t realize about that particular Bible quote is that it was not a prescription for violence but rather a limitation that was meant to instill a sense of fairness. You take my eye, I take your eye – not, rather, you take my eye, and I take your eye, your house, and your entire flock of goats. It was a restriction on the inevitable escalation of violence.

Something about our society perpetuates violence. We need to take a good, hard look at just what that is. And maybe, in the meantime, we should limit death penalty cases to extreme cases of genocide, mass murder, war crimes, and treason.

If you’re interested in learning more about the death penalty in the United States, then I recommended the websites I’ve linked to as well as the following movies, books, and television programs:

Dead Man Walking by Sister Helen Prejean, as well as the movie of the same name that was based on the book.

I Want to Live – the 1958 tearjerker based on the real-life story of Barbara Graham boasts an over-the-top performance by Susan Hayward. Rotten Tomatoes gives it a 100% Fresh rating.

Death Be Not Proud – This is a 2005 episode of the David E. Kelley produced Boston Legal. In the episode, James Spader’s Alan Shore travels to Texas to try a capital murder case. Kerry Washington guest stars.

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0112818/

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0530516/usercomments

http://www.rottentomatoes.com/m/i_want_to_live/

http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2011/05/09/110509fa_fact_toobin

http://www.innocenceproject.org/

June 4, 2011 at 8:02 pm 7 comments

Be Prepared: Mutual of Wichita Rape Insurance

Hi. You might not know me. I’m Kansas State Representative Pete DeGlaaf (R), and I love women and babies. In fact, I just kissed a baby 5 minutes ago. You missed it. During a recent house debate my colleagues and I were discussing a motion to make private health coverage for abortions illegal. I mentioned that women who were the survivors of rape or incest might just want to be prepared.

I mean, after all, I have a spare tire. I have life insurance. Why shouldn’t we expect women to plan ahead for these inevitable contingencies of life? Isn’t that what being a responsible adult is all about? We have fire insurance and flood insurance. Why shouldn’t we have rape insurance, too?

That’s when it occurred to me that I had come upon an excellent business plan, inadvertently. There’s no reason why I shouldn’t take advantage of my accidental flash of entrepreneurial genius! First, I googled to make sure that there wasn’t already a rape insurance policy out there.

It turns out there is, but it’s only available in South Africa. So, I thought why can’t we be like the progressive people of South Africa and offer this service to American women? I contacted my friends at Mutual of Wichita. They felt exactly the same way, and they made it happen.

I’m now pleased to announce that you can purchase Mutual of Wichita Rape Insurance at a very affordable rate. You can, like a Boy Scout, be prepared for life’s emergencies, such as random acts of penis. What does it cost? Well, the monthly premium is very affordable. And like life insurance, we base it on amortization tables designed to minimize risk. But any woman* can afford rape insurance.

Affordable Monthly Premiums

Girl, 18 & Under, Virgin

$75

Adult Virgin

$45

Female, Experienced, under 30

$35

Female over 30

$25

MILF

$30

Grandmother

$15

Cougar

$20

Crone

$10

Actress

$65

Model

$75

You might ask, what is the deductible, Pete? And again, it’s very affordable. The deductible is only $800. That’s right! $800! For the mere cost of a rape kit, you can start taking advantage of your rape insurance coverage.

What does rape insurance cover? I’m glad you asked. There are two options available for women. Both options, working, of course, in conjunction with your health care provider and your employer’s EAP, will pay for a portion of 8 counseling sessions with a qualified, approved Christian counselor.

We will pay, in conjunction with your health care provider, for a portion of the health care costs associated with the rape, up to and including the morning after pill, four AIDS tests, the recommended AZT cocktail, and a full test panel for STDs. We will also pay for your ultrasound and prenatal care and labor costs, if necessary.

For those of you that are victims of rape and incest, I am truly sorry. If, after 8 weekly sessions, your qualified, approved Christian counselor determines that an abortion is necessary for your mental health, then it will be covered after certain secondary requirements are met.

The Jaycee Duggard Plan The Joan Crawford Plan
Counseling Counseling
Health Care Health Care
Ultrasound Ultrasound
Pre-Natal & Delivery Polygraph Test
College Trust Fund Wire Hanger
Tea Kettle
Hydrogen Peroxide
Mirror
One Gallon of Distilled Water
2 Tea Towels
1 Box of Sanitary Napkins

We will, of course, require you to submit to a polygraph test and an ultrasound. If the polygraph determines that you have, indeed, been the victim of a rape or incest, then we will provide you with a coat hanger, a teakettle, a bottle of distilled water, a bottle of hydrogen peroxide, a small hand-held mirror, and one night in a private hospital room. If you absolutely must kill babies, then that burden should be on you alone. This is called the Joan Crawford Plan.

For those of you that aren’t baby killers, we have the Jaycee Duggard Plan. This option covers not only your medical costs associated with gestation and labor but also provides your rapist’s baby with a college education, regardless of whether or not you decide to keep the baby. That’s right. You can give your baby up to a loving, caring, Christian family that’s just waiting for a bundle of joy and rest assured that your child will receive a college education at an approved Christian college.**

But wait!! That’s not all. If you can prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, to a panel of Christian clerics and medical experts, that you were a virgin prior to your assault, then you will receive an extra $10,000 for pain and suffering to be spent in any way you deem fit. You can also qualify for discounts on your insurance premiums if you agree to carry pepper spray, take a self defense course and never leave your home without your arms, legs, ankles and decolletage fully covered. We will provide an additional discount if you wear a burka or another full head and face covering.

*  Mutual of Wichita Rape Insurance doesn’t cover strippers, massage therapists, sex workers or transgender women. Pre-existing conditions such as prior sexual abuse can disqualify you for coverage as well.

** Approved Christian colleges include Liberty University, Bob Jones University, and Oral Roberts University.

Disclaimer: I am not Pete DeGlaaf or Pete DeGraaf, the dumbass Republican member of the Kansas State House of Representatives. This “advertisement” is a satire meant to call attention to the stupidity and misogyny of Representative Pete DeGraaf of Kansas.

http://www.kansasvotes.org/Legislator.aspx?ID=16863

http://articles.cnn.com/2011-05-31/opinion/granderson.rape.abortion_1_incest-victims-abortion-sharron-angle?_s=PM:OPINION

June 2, 2011 at 2:56 am 1 comment

A Woman Under the Influence

A Woman Under the Influence

Image via Wikipedia

This movie was one of the first truly independent films. John Cassavetes, the writer and director, couldn’t find a distributor that would take it on. He called individual movie theaters himself to see if they would play the movie. It was made for a shoestring budget and produced by Cassavetes and the film’s stars: his wife Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk.

A Woman Under the Influence was released in 1974 when I was 3 years old and Gena Rowlands was 44. Cassavetes couldn’t get a studio to make the film because they all said that nobody wants to watch a middle-aged dame go crazy. Well, he proved them wrong because once the movie hit The New York Film Festival plenty of people wanted to pay good money to watch a middle-aged dame go crazy.

The movie is now considered a part of classic cinema, and it’s probably part of the required coursework for many women’s studies departments. When the film was released it was adopted as a sort of anthem of the feminist movement. Audiences booed Peter Falk’s character. Ironically, Cassavetes wasn’t trying to make a statement about feminism, and he didn’t consider the title character to be crazy. Cassavetes saw Mabel as eccentric, and he thought his movie was an unlikely love story.

I don’t want to give away too much of the plot, and I’m sure that with the benefit of a modern perspective I’ve read much into the movie that wasn’t intended to be there. For instance, Mabel’s inappropriate affection with men, including her own father, made me uncomfortable. She’s taken advantage of sexually in a sequence near the beginning of the film. I began to wonder how much of her eccentricity might be explained by childhood sexual abuse.

Falk’s character Nick doesn’t deserve to be booed. He’s just a working stiff, caught between his mother (played by Cassavetes’ mother) and his wife. He sends Mabel mixed messages, telling her one minute just to be herself and then raging against her later when she does just that. In at least a couple different instances, he gets violent with Mabel. Rowlands’ Mabel tells Nick, across the dinner table that she will be anything he wants her to be. He only has to tell her what he wants and she will be that. It’s not hard to see why this movie resonated with second wave feminists.

Another great scene involves Mabel asking her father to stand up for her. He takes her request literally and stand up. She tells him to sit back down. No, she means she wants him to stand up for her. Again, he stands up from his chair. It’s Mabel’s mother (played by Gena Rowlands’ own mother) who finally understands her daughter’s intent.

In the end, the movie is a love story. Nick genuinely loves Mabel. No man would put up with all that shit if he didn’t. The title does beg the question: Under the influence of what? Mabel does a lot of drinking in the movie. She takes pills. But I don’t think that Cassavetes meant for this to be a tale of addiction. And I know (from a radio interview included with the DVD) that he didn’t write a tale of insanity. Something tells me that even though he didn’t write the movie specifically as a feminist statement, the influence that he was referring to was that of Mabel’s society.

Mabel is stuck in a world where no one understands her, not even her own husband. And that is part of the tragedy because Nick is attracted to what he can’t understand. It is Mabel’s uniqueness that draws Nick to her. Mabel is okay with being different. What she’s not okay with is her husband’s growing discomfort with her failure to live up to his society’s expectations.

April 11, 2011 at 11:21 pm 1 comment

Put the Shame Where It Belongs

Judd, as YouthAIDS Global Ambassador, speaks a...

Image via Wikipedia

Ashley Judd has been making the rounds lately. She just released a memoir of her childhood years. All That Is Bitter & Sweet is a tale that includes revelations of drug abuse on the part of caretakers, sexual molestation, neglect, and incest. She’s been on The View and several other morning talk shows promoting the book.

In her interview with the ladies from The View Ashley said something profound. I’m paraphrasing, but she said that the secret of sexual abuse is shaming and that in placing that secret out into the open and exposing it to the light we place the blame back where it belongs: on the perpetrators. That’s a powerful statement and one that I absolutely agree with wholeheartedly.

Media stories have leaked with the publication of this book that both Naomi and Wynonna Judd are offended with Ashley’s airing of their dirty laundry in public. But I actually see this as a way for Ashley to help survivors of childhood sexual abuse. The point isn’t to grandstand for publicity or to hurt her mother and sister but rather to help other survivors to come to terms with their own stories. You would think Wynonna, who reportedly was married to a pedophile, would understand this. But maybe not.

Ashley Judd has long been an outspoken advocate for women’s rights and for sexual abuse survivors. This book is not a radical departure for publicity’s sake.

Recently I read bits and pieces of another book called, The Book of You, which is basically an amalgamation of various studies and insights made by sociologists, psychologists and social psychologists about human behavior and interaction. One snippet from the book was about incest. Basically, I took issue with it because it referred to incest as a “seduction,” and never once actually referred to incest as an assault on a child, which is, of course, exactly what it is. Incest is nothing less than rape.

Whether or not the victim is “groomed” or “seduced,” whether or not the victim fights or submits, whether or not she assents or says no, any child who is the victim of incest is just that: a victim. In other words, the child is blameless because a child cannot consent to have sex, regardless of whether or not the sex is with a stranger or a trusted loved one. In fact, the betrayal seems many times worse when it’s made by a family member.

I spent some time growing up in a very small town in Oklahoma which shall remain nameless. I went to junior high school and spent part of my freshman year of high school in this town. There were two cases of incest amongst schoolmates while I was there. The first that I knew of was a girl that I’ll call Monique. Monique was a year ahead of me in school, and we rode the school bus together. Her home was a plain, small brick house on the same street as the trailer park where I lived. She lived there with her dad, her “stepmom,” and two younger sisters.

Monique had quite the reputation. She got around as one might say in polite euphemism, or, if you want to cut to the chase, she was the town slut. It was more difficult to find a boy that Monique wouldn’t have sex with than one that she would. She was a year ahead of me in school, but she was already “dating” high school and college boys in the eighth grade.

We sometimes called her Monique the Kissing Bandit, after Morgana the Kissing Bandit, because she would exhibit odd behavior like running around the halls of school and kissing people of both sexes on the lips. She was engaged and then married before I even moved from the town, so she was married by the time she was a high school sophomore.

All of these behaviors are classic signs that something is definitely wrong at home. But no one in my small town wanted to butt their noses into that. Better to let the girl self-destruct. After all, didn’t her own behavior show that she was nothing but trouble, a wild child, the kind of girl who was going to get what was coming to her?

I think everyone in that town knew. I know I did. I remember Monique’s younger sister, sitting next to the baby sister on the bus, talking about how she was working on her beautician’s license, how she couldn’t wait to get out of her dad’s house, how she was only there now to keep her dad away from her baby sister. I knew.

Monique followed me to the next town we moved to, not purposely, of course. She just happened to end up in the same Oklahoma City suburb. I don’t remember going to school with her there. Eventually, she got a divorce or an annulment from her first husband. I suspect that he was just an excuse to get out of her father’s house. By the time I graduated from college at the tender age of 22, Monique, herself no older than 23, had been married and divorced twice and had three young preschool age children to feed on the salary of a grocery store checker. I know she didn’t graduate from high school.

Small towns are hotbeds of secrets. A movie like Peyton Place might as well be a documentary. Dark shameful secrets come to small towns to die and be buried. Secrets are better exposed. They need light and oxygen. Some wounds heal faster when they’re exposed to the air. So, if you haven’t done so yet, rip off that band aid.

http://abcnews.go.com/Health/ashley-judd-view-shame-sex-assault-lifted/story?id=13309181

April 7, 2011 at 12:02 am 9 comments

A Time to Rape

A Time To Kill

In the 90s a book came out that was later made into a movie. This book was the first book published from the pen of John Grisham, the lawyer turned author. In my opinion, it’s his best book. In some ways, it’s a modern day retelling of To Kill a Mockingbird. In Grisham’s A Time to Kill two ne’er do well good ol’ boys pick up an underage black girl named Tonia Haley and beat and rape her so severely that the damage from the rape makes her infertile.

Her father, Carl Lee Haley, realizes that in his mostly white Mississippi town two white boys will never be convicted of harming a black girl and that they will most likely go free. Carl Lee confers with a local counselor, the struggling defense attorney, Jake Briggance, and asks Jake if he’ll defend him should he need it. Jake, himself the father of a young girl close to Tonia’s age, agrees to defend Carl Lee should he need his services. Following that conversation, Carl Lee takes a shotgun to the courthouse on the day of the rapists’ arraignment and shoots the two men down in cold blood, accidentally shooting a peace officer as well, in the process.

The rest of the movie is about the fight to keep Carl Lee out of prison and away from the gas chamber. A Time to Kill is a story about a hate crime, specifically focused on race relations. In the end Jake gets Carl Lee acquitted by asking jury members to close their eyes while he describes the rape of a 9-year-old girl in gruesome detail. When he’s finished presenting the picture of a little girl tied up, raped, beaten, urinated on, and left to die he says, simply, “Now imagine she’s white.”

I want to tell you a story. Don’t close your eyes or you won’t be able to read the story, but you can see what I want you to see in your mind’s eye. This is the story of a little boy. This boy lives in a small Texas town that’s fraught with racial strife. The boy is Hispanic, and he’s 11 years old. He’s also a straight A student. His mother has been hospitalized recently with some health problems, and his father is an unemployed construction worker.

The boy has spent a lot of time hanging out with older kids in a bad neighborhood lately. People in this neighborhood have spotted him there on numerous occasions. They wonder what he’s doing there and why his parents don’t keep closer tabs on him. The boy is also on Facebook. On his profile, he says he’s 13 so that he’ll look older and tougher than he really is and so that maybe, just maybe he’ll attract older girls. He’s made posts involving drinking and sex.

One day the boy is out walking after school when three older boys offer to give him a ride. He accepts. He knows these boys, and he’s hung out with them before. They’re all African American, and they’re all much older than he is. They’re high school age. The boys all drive to a small blue house in the bad neighborhood, one that belongs to the aunt of one of the older boys.

The house is empty except for the four boys. There are no adults present. They go to one of the bedrooms of the house. They’re hanging out. Maybe they watch TV. Maybe they drink a beer or smoke a little pot. Suddenly, one of the older boys says, “I want you to suck my cock.”

The young boy is stunned. This request seems to come from left field. He tries to laugh it off.

A second older boy stands up and says, “You’re going to suck all our cocks.”

The little boy says, “And what if I don’t.”

The first older boy chimes in again. “First, we’ll beat you. Then you can walk home.”

The little boy looks at the older boys, and he realizes that they are serious. Any one of the three of them could pulverize him. The little boy doesn’t even weigh 100 pounds. These are big guys. They lift weights. They play high school athletics. One of them is double his size. His chance of taking on all three or of escaping is nothing.

The boy submits to the rape. The older boys take pictures and videos on their cell phones. The sexual activity takes place in a bedroom and in a bathroom. While the boy is cleaning up in the bathroom he hears the older boys talking on their cell phones and inviting some of their friends to also come over. The aunt who owns the house has come home, and one of the older boys takes him out of the bathroom and sneaks him out the back of the house and into the car.

The little boy has gone silent. Perhaps he is in shock. They made him do things he didn’t want to do, things that hurt him. He is bleeding. The older boys drive him to an abandoned mobile home in a trailer park on the edge of the bad neighborhood. He’s been here before. The yard is strewn with trash, and there are household items that probably belonged to the last, evicted tenants, lying on the curb.

More older boys and even some men show up, and they all use him sexually, too. Sometimes he is made to service more than one man at a time. He is afraid to say anything because there are now several men in the trailer, perhaps as many as 20 or more, and he is afraid that if he protests or fights they will beat him. They continue to take photos and video as they cheer him on. The little boy is tired, sore, and hurt. He wants to go home, but they won’t take him home until they are done. The attack takes several hours.

Finally, they do take him home, and in his humiliation he says nothing. He showers and goes to bed and resolves never to speak of it. He doesn’t want to shame his father or hurt his mother, especially with her health issues.

One day soon afterward he is called into the principal’s office because one of the perpetrators of the attack has emailed or texted pictures and video of the boy’s rape to several of his classmates. He is afraid and alone, but he tells the truth.

That’s a sad story, isn’t it? You feel sorry for that boy. You never question where his parents were during the attack. You never question why he accepted a ride with three older boys. You don’t think, like I once heard another blogger say about a rape victim, that the police were sent in to do a father’s job, as if only single mothers parent rape victims. You know, or at least you assume, that since the boy is posting about experience with drinking and sex that implies he’s no longer a virgin. You know that he’s working hard to appear older than he really is, with his Facebook profile, his clothes and appearance, and the friends he hangs around.

But you never thought he deserved what happened to him, did you? You never thought it was a racial conspiracy to get a whole generation of black men, did you? I hope you never blamed the boy for not protesting or trying to run away. I don’t think you probably thought that the boy had brought this on by his behavior or his appearance, although if his rapists were homosexuals it seems conceivable that they just couldn’t help themselves, or maybe not. What do you think? Do you think the actions of any 11 year old boy could cause a man to somehow have to rape him? You think this is a horrible crime, don’t you? And you think the boy’s not at fault for what happened to him at all. Now imagine the boy’s a girl.

http://jezebel.com/#!5780022/media-blows-it-with-pathetic-gang-rape-coverage

March 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm 7 comments

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