The situation in Cleveland, TX surrounding the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl is getting even more tense as the defense attorney for several of the defendants in the case claims that “the victim was seeking attention and she wants to be a porn star.” The attorney, James D. Evans III, says, “This is not a case of a child who was enslaved or taken advantage of.”
Many in the media have been very careful to remind the public that at age 11, no one can consent to sex regardless of any level of perceived desire, and that even if the victim were of an age of consent, gang rape is still a crime, and a heinous one at that. Some of the defendants are claiming they believed the victim to be 17 years old (note: not that she claimed to be), but as the Houston Chronicle notes, “Under Texas law, anyone who has sex with an underage person can be charged with a crime, even if they claim not to have known the person’s age…. That’s technically true even if the underage person lies about his or her age or produces a fake ID.”
Child protective services have taken the victim into custody, which unfortunately only fuels the argument that somehow the girl’s mother might be to blame for the incident. The only people responsible for the rape of this 11-year-old girl are the men and boys who raped her. Thus far, 18 men and boys – who are all Black – have been charged in the incident, and a local activist has made it a point to suggest that these charges are a way of singling out and punishing the Black community.
Quanell X, a controversial Black activist, held a rally last night “questioning the ongoing investigation that has resulted in 18 black men and boys in Cleveland being charged with sexually assaulting the 11-year-old Hispanic girl,” the Chronicle reports. X didn’t deny that the men charged should be held responsible for their crimes, but he too tried to shift the blame onto the victim’s mother, saying, “Hispanics have a right to be angry with black men who ravaged a young girl … but the first house you need to stop at is her Mama and Daddy’s house!”
X believes some of the men arrested in association with the crime are not guilty, saying, “We do not want someone with a malicious racist motive to rid your community of an entire generation of black men.” CNN reports that there may have been up to 28 men involved in this gang rape, some who are believed to be white. Obviously those responsible should be held accountable regardless of race and anyone accused who is truly innocent should be exonerated. But it’s important to not lose sight of the fact that there are men and boys responsible for the brutalization of an 11-year-old girl, and they must be met with punishment.