|Ethics? Huh? Do what now?|
The old Gray Lady herself, The New York Times, ran a horrific story on Tuesday of a little girl, aged 11, who was abducted and gang-raped by 18 men, ranging from middle-school age to adults. The accused boys and men insist that the 11-year-old child consented to the "sex" and The New York Times, rather than stating the very obvious fact that children CANNOT consent to sex, chose to run a story that paints the poor accused boys as the true victims. You know, the kind of victims that did the crime, but are still totally innocent and holy and whatnot. (And according to other sources, the local basketball team is suffering without some of their players! Oh nos! Poor boys!)
Now, I know many people who attended what is affectionately called J-School. Journalism School. Not every journalist does, of course, and many just minor in the subject while majoring in an entire other course. So maybe this particular newspaper, only the bastion of American newsprint, just minored in the ethics of journalism. Because something that should be a basic when writing a story of this nature is: Children do NOT consent to sex. Ever. No matter how they are dressed, where they live, where their parents live or work, or what ethnicity the child is. This is a story of rape, of rape apology, and of complete and total victim blaming.
The New York Times reporter James McKinley writes, "Residents in the neighborhood . . . said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s."
See? She dressed older than a Patriarchy Approved (TM) 11-year-old girl should dress! That 19-year-old boy who told her that he would beat her if she didn't do as he said was just an innocent bystander to this temptress!
Here's my report, unbiased, and completely accurate:
The New York Times, and writer James McKinley, refuses to call the violent rape of a child "rape," preferring "sex" and "a willing participant."
The New York Times, and writer James McKinley, run quotes and commentary that shows sympathy for the accusers, not for the victim.
The New York Times, and writer James McKinley, perpetuate rape culture.
The New York Times story, written by hack journalist James McKinley, is full of rape apologists, and The New York Times does nothing, absolutely nothing, to offer a counter argument. Like pointing out that CHILDREN CANNOT CONSENT TO SEX. Ever. And this? Raping children? This is a horrific, punishable crime.
The New York Times and James McKinley disgust me. Because I expect better. Because readers deserve better. Because that 11-year-old girl deserved better than to be blamed for the crimes committed against her, on a national scale, on top of what she has already been through.
Language matters and we will hold those who wield words of rape apology accountable.
Change.org is hosting a petition against the Times, and I hope you will take a moment to sign it.
Tell the New York Times to Apologize for Blaming a Child for Her Gang Rape.
The Times has already released a half-hearted apology, of the, "Sorry you were offended, but we're still totally right!" variety, but remains silent on the lack of accurate wording and victim blaming writer James McKinley peppers his story with. Perhaps the petition will inspire them to rethink their writer and his writing style, in addition to their editorial judgment.
There is a lot of anger and hopelessness felt when hearing a story like this. I am not the judge or on the jury for the boys and men who thought that raping a child was a good way to spend an afternoon, but someone out there is. There is a judge or jury or lawyer in Cleveland, Texas that will have to face this issue, and I hope that they make the right choices. Those boys and men ruined a little girl's life. Forever. And yet, there are news reports like in The New York Times, that plead not to ruin the lives of those boys and men for the actions they chose to do.
Signing a petition, passing this story on, holding those accountable for perpetuating such acts and supporting them in print, wanting this bullshit to stop: It feels like doing very little, but right now it's all I can do. It's all we can do. Write. Sign.