Written as a Facebook Post on Nov 6, 2009.
For the unnamed 15 yr old girl raped outside a homecoming dance in October and the unnamed Latino woman mugged and gang raped in January 2009.
Her name has not been released because she is so young. She was “brutally raped for two hours” by 10 of her classmates during a school homecoming dance last month. (Wilkes) Perhaps you heard the story? Perhaps not. There was a strong supportive cry demanding justice from a critical mass of compassionate pro-women advocates. National press coverage briefly highlighted the young victim’s story a few nights and then this horrible tragedy was relegated to Richmond, CA local news.
Her story was difficult to process. I recall my stomach turning when I read the posting left by my home-girl on Facebook, “Police: As many as 20 present at gang rape outside school dance” (CNN Justice). Everything in me wanted to ignore her uploaded link, I didn’t even want to mentally process the headline. It made me uncomfortable, nauseated and scared. Digesting the words caused a grave sadness to wheal inside. And as my empathy began to imagine the hours of utter terror this young lady experienced, I grew angry for answers.
How could this happen? How could young men become so possessed with rage and hate that they were able to torture another human being for hours? Why would they allow themselves to ignore her screams, her scratches, her bites, and her body resisting? What psychosis did the lynch mob of brutes and on-lookers suffer from that allowed their collective cognitive dissonance in relation to the public raping of a young, Black student? (Leary-DeGruy)
Regrettably so, there was not a 4-paneled press conference on CNN with experts discussing the increasing reported cases of violence against women. There was no campaign on CNBC to ‘Stop the Commodification of Females,’ or a 3-hour telephone fundraising drive to help pay for her hospital and therapy bills. We did not witness a candlelight vigil to mourn her loss and raise awareness around date rape. There was no Prime-Time Special analyzing the dominance of hyper-sexualized Black female images in our culture, and the influence such derogatory images have on people’s perceptions of us. (Morgan) None of these things came to pass, because she was a Black girl, raped by Black boys, in a Black neighborhood. The mainstream media’s common practice of relegating minimum exposure to Black tragedy and Black triumph was the modus operandi. Because people in our communities lack ownership and creative control of Networks, we are restricted by alternative means for disseminating our information. This is another Wake-Up call for Black Americans: It serves our best interests to continue creating and supporting Black and Latino independent media.
My deepest sympathies go out to this young lady and her family. They survived what no human being should ever endure. It is irrelevant if she was dressed modestly or suggestively, if she was a virgin or sexually promiscuous, if she was sober or intoxicated, hetero- or homo-sexual; there is no justification for what those 10 young men did to her and there is no excuse for the by-standers not offering her aid. Rape is an aggravated assault committed by cowards. I pray we continue searching for and finding methods to heal and uplift our community past this regressed level of savagery. Our lives are worth it.
Leary-Degruy, Joy. Post-Traumatic Slave Syndrome.http://www.joydegruy.com/ptss/index.html
Morgan, Joan. When Chicken-heads Come Home to Roost. (1999). Simon and Schuster, NY.
“Police: As many as 20 present at gang rape outside school dance.” October 28, 2009. CNN Justice. http://www.cnn.com/2009/CRIME/10/27/california.gang.rape.investigation/index.html
Wilkes, Tachelle Shamash. “Young Girl Gang raped for 2 Hours Outside High School Dance. Give National Attention to End Violence Against Women.”