>Just when you thought more outlandish and baffling statements can’t come from the Cleveland, Tex. rape case, you were once again proven wrong.
The Broward Palm Beach News Times reported last week that Republican Rep. Kathleen Passidomo (right) said the 11-year-old girl was raped because her parents let her dress up like a prostitute. Here’s her comment in its entirety:
There was an article about an 11 year old girl who was gangraped in Texas by 18 young men because she was dressed up like a 21-year-old prostitute. And her parents let her attend school like that. And I think it’s incumbent upon us to create some areas where students can be safe in school and show up in proper attire so what happened in Texas doesn’t happen to our students.
(It should be noted the representative from Naples was referring to a “sagging pants bill” that would require Florida schools to develop dress codes that prohibits students from wearing their pants to expose their underwear or other body parts).
The state lawmaker retracted her comments later and provided an explanation of what she meant:
The blame is solely on the boys for what occurred. Those kids were going to find somebody. They’re predators. They’re going to be dealt with in the judicial system. But the young girl has to deal with this for the rest of her life. My whole comment was, how do we protect kids from these predators?
I’m not sure if I’m more disappointed at the representative’s comments or the fact that a woman actually referred to this child as dressing up like a prostitute.
One of the most disturbing things I’ve learned from reading varying news accounts about this story is how women are perpetuating the codes and mores of rape culture. The female relatives of those who are accused of the crime are laying the blame of this rape on the victim, an 11-year-old child.
As women, these type of condescending and dismissive accusations should strike a nerve with us as we all were once 11-year-old children before. Thinking back when I was 11 years old, no matter what I thought of my ability to reason the time, I know now I was in no way capable of making any sort of decisions relating to sex that would be deemed adequate enough to give consent. I know now that at 11 years old, no matter how “mature” I thought I was compared to those pesky younger elementary school-aged students, I indeed was a child and lacked the reasoning needed to understand the magnitude of having sex and its consequences. The fact that these women *refuse* to acknowledge this basic fact about this case just demonstrates the inability of these women to free themselves from the mental chains rape culture has on their minds.
I can’t imagine how any woman, whether they are raising boys or girls, can justify and blame a sexual assault of a child on the victim. I can’t fathom how any woman could tell a news reporter with a straight face that an 11-year-old girl was responsible for her own rape. There’s really no justification in this matter and the women who are trying to diffuse this situation are a sad example of womanhood. The law doesn’t care of this child was walking around naked, had the body of a 20-something woman or if she was hanging around these men and boys shortly before the assault.
A child is a child is a child and ignorance and dismissal of that fact is no defense in the case of rape.