A group of 20 men are accused of taking an 11-year-old girl to an abandoned trailer in Cleveland, Texas and gang-raping her over the course of four months in 2010. Those accused range in age from middle school to a 27-year-old man.
When Steve Taylor, defense attorney for 20-year-old Jared Len Cruse, recently asked the alleged victim if she had been a “willing participant,” the girl said “yes” and was forthcoming with the fact that she hadn't told anyone of the rape until after the video of the rape started circulating among schoolmates. Then Taylor attempted to make the disgusting case that the 11-year-old's behavior was “the reason” that the men raped her.
You won't believe what Taylor said about this child in court.
Taylor actually had the gall to ask the courtroom:
Like the spider and the fly. Wasn't she saying, "Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?"
I have daughters and the fact that these words came out of another adult’s mouth makes me physically ill. It goes to show that there are still people in the world who believe that the victim shares some kind of culpability in her rape. That is just not the case ever and especially not when the victim is a child.
Rape is rape and an 11-year-old child is not old enough to give consent to sexual relations. Whether or not she said yes or didn't report it immediately or even if she ran around town butt-naked with a sign on her neck that said "Available," she was and still is a child, and any boy or man who had sex with her took advantage of her. Raped her. The only one culpable in a rape is the rapist.
The world needs to shift the way it views rape. Rape is not something we should have to teach our girls how to stay safe from. We should be teaching our boys that rape is not okay, ever. Girls and women are not inanimate objects. We have feelings, we have thoughts, we have dreams, and we deserve human respect. A grown man talking a child into sex is not a remotely even playing field. She is too young to understand the ramifications of her decisions and the power is in the favor of the adult.
I don’t want to raise my girls in a world where they are told wearing short skirts, going to parties, and drinking may result in their becoming a rape victim. I am not particularly fond of the idea of my daughters doing any of these activities, but I also don’t think their punishment should be rape and I don’t think that women should have to be afraid to walk around in the world. How is it a woman’s fault that a man perpetrates a violent crime against her?
All this said, it makes me sick that a professional individual, defense attorney or not, would imply this kind of victim blame in his arguments. It's no wonder crimes like these continue to go on and that many rapists and child molesters never take responsibility for their crimes.
What do you think of defense attorney Taylor’s statement?
Image via Telstar Logistics/Flickr