A Time to Rape

March 18, 2011 at 12:56 pm 7 comments

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.



Entry filed under: Child Abuse, Children, Crime, Current Events, Human Rights, Media, Prejudice, Racism, Sexual Abuse & Assault, Violence, Women's Rights. Tags: , , , , , , , .

Because I’m Worth It The Gall of My Gallbladder

7 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mirco Romanato  |  March 18, 2011 at 2:29 pm

    I want share my thinking.
    The mother/parents were negligent. It could be interesting to know why.
    The girl was stupid to go with the boys.
    The girl did a stupid thing showering and cleaning up all traces of the rape and not denouncing it.
    If the proof of the rape was only her word, they would walk out free. It is not improbable that she did it with one of them or a few of them initially to belong and be accepted by the group. Then things escalated out of her control.

    BUT, how it happened don’t matter.
    What matter is that it happened when she was 11 years old and it is statutory rape.
    What matter is that they were so stupid to shot photos and movies of their actions, recording their crimes.
    What matter is they deserve to be punished because they were:
    1) Stupid
    2) Evil

    The right punishment for what they did is to be jailed for a long, long time. Until they are so old they will be unable to have their offspring.

  • 2. Louella  |  March 18, 2011 at 11:00 pm

    I first heard of this incident through Shelby Knox – http://www.change.org/petitions/tell-the-new-york-times-to-apologize-for-blaming-a-child-for-her-gang-rape#?opt_new=t&opt_fb=f

    Without reference to the NYT article, There is NO justification for rape.

    No excuse, or reasoning justifies it and in my opinion avoiding responsibility and making excuses defending the behaviour helps no one.

    I’d suggest it advocates the ongoing bad behaviour of the perpetrator.

  • 3. David F  |  March 19, 2011 at 12:41 am

    Thank you for highlighting the reality of such terrible crimes like this. It serves as a cold sharp shock to remind us of human beings gross inhumanity towards each other even today, especially the vulnerable such as children and women. In this case it does happen to be a girl who was terribly raped, but it could equally have been a boy. I feel so sad for the girl, what absolute horror she must have been put through. What an incredible betrayal of her childlike trust. It is a terribly sad story and should never under any circumstances be subtly justified by referring to the neglect of parents or the immature behaviour of a child trying to look bigger, tougher, more mature than they actually are.

    I have always been a bit of a loner and have always felt that people when they get together in groups are generally more likely to behave badly than when they are on their own. But the notion of a group of teenage males and grown men ganging up to sexually assault a women or especially a child and even film it I find utterly sickening. Why on earth didn’t one of them stand up to the others and try to protect the girl and take her out of this horrific situation? I don’t know, but I do know that young people are also capable of great nobility, courage and kindness so there is no good in trying to explain away this sick crime by falsely sympathising with the perpetrators because of their youth. They may well not have been fully aware of the terrible nature of their crime, but they certainly knew it was wrong. They knew what they were doing was deeply wrong and they did it any way. May they be made fully conscious of the terrible suffering they have caused an innocent and the extreme gravity of their crimes and may they be appropriately punished under law.

    A very sad factual tale, but thank you again for bringing to our attention. I certainly wouldn’t have known about it had I not been reading your blog.

  • 4. razzlemonster  |  March 19, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I am speechless… brilliant writing & so very sad.

  • 5. The Girl From Out of Town  |  April 5, 2011 at 11:45 am

    When this strory broke, comments to the story said the gang rape that happened was referred to a “train”, and “she was ‘trained” in urban speak. How can there even be a slang word for this?

    • 6. Author  |  April 5, 2011 at 1:00 pm

      Some people are just sick. It’s slang that’s been around for a long time, and it’s used to refer to a type of group sex, not specifically gang rape. Nevertheless, it’s used to describe this rape.

  • 7. Camille Sczerbowicz  |  July 15, 2012 at 6:14 am

    Sad,i feel sooo sorry:-(


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