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11-year-old girl blamed for her gang rape by New York Times

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Summary of story from Change.org, 11.3.11

The New York times has been the subject of intense criticism since it published this story implying that an 11-year-old girl was responsible for being gang raped.

Last Thanksgiving, the young girl was driven out to a trailer at the edge of Cleveland, Texas where she was raped by at least 18 men. The investigation began shortly after when cellphone video footage started circulating around her school and a teacher reported it to authorities.

In his article New York Times writer James McKinley included reactions from Cleveland residents. Some made a point of saying that this girl wore make-up and dressed older than her age. Others blamed her mother for letting her go out to the trailer park.

For one resident the biggest concern is the impact on the rapist, “these boys have to live with this the rest of their lives,” she said.

While the comments were made by the people of Cleveland, Shelby Knox of Change.org points out that McKinley should have put the quotes into context.

“Instead of wondering how it was possible that a whole town could turn against a child who was brutally raped, he superimposed their victim-blaming onto his story and turned it in as news,” she said.

Change.org has started a petition demanding that the New York Times take a stand against rape culture. They have collected more than 38,000 signatures to date.

You can read Feministing’s take on the incident here.

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