This morning I woke up to a story from the New York Times about an 11 year old girl in Cleveland, Texas who was gang raped by more than 18 boys and men: Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town. The NYT article focuses on the damage done to the boys and men, and by extension to the entire town. The men were described as being “drawn into” gang raping a little girl. The NYT then quotes residents who appear to be blaming the girl for being gang raped, because of the way she dresses.
Shakespeare’s Sister comments, “As horrible as this story is, the article serves as a great example of exactly what we mean by “rape culture.””
The attacked is stated to have occurred in the home of one of the suspects, Timothy Ellis (19), and at an abandoned mobile trailer (around the corner form the home). According to official documents, Ellis asked the [alleged] victim is she wanted to ‘ride around’ before they arrived at his home. She was taken into his bedroom and told to remove her clothes or a group of girls would come to beat her up and she would not be taken home.
In the arrest warrant, it states that multiple individuals had sex with the minor as others took pictures and videos. The assault moved to the secondary location when the aunt of Ellis arrived home and made everyone leave the premises.
This morning, feeling sick to my stomach and sick at heart, I made a few phone calls. I called two women’s centers that provide rape crisis services in Liberty County, Texas: The Montgomery Women’s Center and New Horizons Family Center. Both serve that area with rape crisis counseling, advocacy, financial assistance, and emergency shelter. I donated to both women’s centers.
I also called the Liberty County Sheriff’s office at 936-336-4500 to ask if there is a victim assistance fund set up for the girl. The sheriff’s office was not aware of a fund and said that the case was being handled by the Cleveland Police Department. I called the Cleveland Police at 281-592-2622, and ended up leaving a message. I include the numbers so that interested readers can follow up. If such a fund doesn’t exist yet, I think it should, and likely they will set up one up if people start calling and asking where to donate.
I grew up in Northwest Houston not far from Cleveland, Texas. Next to a small town like Cleveland my suburbs were probably a cosmopolitan paradise. But I remember the kids’ and adults’ attitudes towards rape. It wasn’t good, people. This is a small town. The accused rapists include popular athletes, grown men, children of school board members, and so on. The girl is in foster care now and is probably going to have to move out of town. The town itself will likely just trash her reputation — a little kid!!! and rally round its golden boys. It’s bullshit. The media is reporting on how she dresses, what the town thinks of how she dresses, where she hangs out, whether she cusses on her Facebook page… ALL COMPLETELY NOT RELEVANT to her being kidnapped and brutally gang raped.
It disgusts me to think of the number of people walking around Cleveland, Texas who knew about this horrific rape and assault. The rapists themselves knew. The friends of the rapists knew. At some point everyone knew and likely had seen the videos, too. Some of them probably laughed. The rapists must have felt really big and proud and manly about being rapists whose acts of sexual violence were captured on cameraphone video. I bet they felt like real studs. Some of the kids who saw those videos had to have told their parents. Who probably didn’t do anything. The girl went to the principal of her school and told. I wonder how that played out for her, don’t you? I bet the school stalled like hell and then only reported it to the police when it was clear they had to cover their asses. All those people knew and they walk around just like regular people instead of feeling like the perpetrators and accomplices of pure evil.
Here is the list of the accused so far, the ones who aren’t minors:
The suspects previously arrested in the case are: Jared Glenn McPherson, 18; Kelvin Rashad King, 21; Marcus Anthony Porchia, 26; Devo Shaun Green, 20; Xavier King, 17; Eric Bernard McGowan, 19; Jared Len Cruse, 18; Isaiah Rashad Ross, 21; Timothy Daray Ellis, 19; Rayford Tyrone Ellis, Jr., 19, and Jamarcus Norris Napper.
I don’t care if these men’s lives are “ripped apart” because they raped someone, or watched someone get raped. All of y’all can go right to hell. You weren’t “drawn in” to gang rape. You decided to rape someone or stand by while your friends raped a girl. Seriously, fuck off and die.
The Houston Chronicle’s article makes it clear this girl and her family need immediate and serious help.
Someone has been making phone calls to Maria’s house. Police fear they’re coming from people seeking retribution.
“They keep calling and asking for her,” said Maria, whose last name is not being printed to protect her daughter’s identity. “They don’t believe me when I say she’s not here and cuss us out. They’re trying to find her. This is the time when she needs us the most.”
Anyway, please donate to the women’s centers that are local to Liberty County and Cleveland in Texas, and please help me get a victim assistance fund set up for this child. I wish she could see the supportive messages we’d all like to send her.