The comments from people who saw the young girl around the Quarters, the neighborhood where the rape occurred, were that the young girl dressed older than her years, wore make-up and had been hanging out talking to boys. They also blamed the young girl's mother and asked where she was when her daughter was out.
Whatever the reason as to why the parents of this girl let her dress older or let her hang around with teenage boys, or in this neighborhood, none of this gave these men permission to rape her.
Cleveland is only forty miles from Houston and it surprised me when I heard that a local activist was traveling there to meet with the families of the young men who were arrested. It actually wasn't until then that I realized that the men being accused of the rape were African American and that the young girl was Hispanic. It was never about race in my book. It's about common human decency.
The activist argued that there wasn't any hard evidence against the young men. "What about the video tapes and photos?" I asked. I don't care if the videos and photos didn't show them raping the young girl. Just the fact that they are there in the pictures, present when a crime was being committed against a child, is enough for me. What about the law that says that knowing about a crime and not reporting it is just as serious as committing the crime?
Then the zinger came when the attorney representing some of the young men actually admitted that the men knew the girl was only eleven. Amazing. So these men knew they were raping an eleven year old little girl. Sorry, but last time someone checked having sex with a minor is still against the law, whether you knew how old she was or not. The fact that they knew makes it even worse.
So once again, rape is rape and an eleven year old is an eleven year old, no matter how much make-up she has on or how she's dressed.