*(via ColorLines.com) Until last week I had never heard of Cleveland, Texas, the small town where an 11-year-old Latina was gang raped, allegedly by 18 black males ages 14 to 27.
But since The Houston Chronicle told the victim’s story with compassion and a New York Times piece subtly blamed her; since various news outlets have essentially tried and convicted the suspects with a widely circulated mugshot collage; since Houston New Black Panther leader Quannell X sacrificed the victim in his zeal to raise questions about the police investigation; since Mujeres Unidas checked Quanell X; and since white supremacist Web sites are partying about this tragedy like it’s 1799, tiny Cleveland, has become a major example of how not to deal with rape in our communities.
My Takeaway, For What It’s Worth:
My next post will offer expert measured insights on how black men can help one another recognize and interrupt rape culture. For now, my suggested ground rules for people who believe they’re protecting black men and boys but actually enabling toxic sexual behavior:
* Adults should never participate in group sex with children. They shouldn’t be watching, taping or photographing it, either. Whether they’re arrested for it or not, they’ve committed sexual abuse.
* It should be inconceivable that a 14-year-old and a 27-year-old are sexually involved with the same girl. That is physically and emotionally dangerous for the girl; risky for the boy and criminal for the man.
* Men and boys should not have sex of any kind in a squalid, vermin-filled trailer abandoned since Hurricane Ike. If they do so, their families should be deeply concerned.
* Even if a girl says she’s 17-the legal age of consent in Texas-and seems sexually experienced; even if she seems open to making a video or down for a ‘train;’ even if her parents are oblivious and she seems vulnerable, raping her or watching it happen is a crime. No one deserves to be gang raped. No. One. Ever. If you find yourself trying to parse that one out, something is very wrong with you.
Read MORE of this report by Abika Solomon at ColorLines.com.