In 2010, 18 men ranging in age from middle-schoolers to a 27-year-old, took an 11-year-old girl to an abandoned trailer in Cleveland, Texas and brutally raped her.

 Jezebel has an update to this awful story, concerning one of the rapists put on trial:

20-year-old Jared Len Cruse is accused of gang-raping an 11-year-old Cleveland, Texas girl along with twenty of his male friends over the course of four months; you may remember our coverage of the story last year. But because she said “yes” when defense attorney Steve Taylor asked if she had been a “willing participant” and acknowledged that she hadn’t made an “outcry” until questioned after sex tapes of the assault started circulating around Cleveland High School, Taylor argued that she was “the reason” that twenty teenagers and adult men raped a child on videotape.

“Like the spider and the fly. Wasn’t she saying, ‘Come into my parlor, said the spider to the fly?’” Taylor asked.

I get that Steve Taylor was trying to do anything in order to protect his client, who was already serving an eight-year sentence on unrelated convictions for aggravated robbery and assault, but comparing an 11-year-old gang rape victim to a seductive men-luring spider is a repulsive and terrible act of victim-blaming. An 11-year-old girl can’t give consent to a sexual encounter, she is a child.

I don’t care if her parents weren’t home. I don’t care how much makeup she wore, how short her skirt was, if her friends were older boys. This little girl didn’t deserve what happened to her, no rape victim does.

I know I’ve made this point numerous times, but when do we stop focusing on telling our girls how not to be raped and instead focus on teaching our boys how not to rape? How many more 11-year-olds need to be gang-raped before we realize that we need to start raising men who don’t rape women?  It floors me that these victim blaming tactics are still being used in courtrooms and everywhere else. It’s a widely-held belief that if a woman dresses a certain way or acts a certain way that she deserves to be raped. Steve Tyler has two teenage sons. How quick to victim-blame his own kids would he be if they were viciously attacked and then videotaped?

Jared Len Cruse was found guilty of aggravated sex assault, and six juveniles and six adults previously pleaded guilty in the case. I suppose it’s good that the boys and men who committed this terrible crime are being punished for it, but it would be nice if the attorneys in this case would stop punishing the victim by suggesting that the crime is somehow her fault.

(photo: Taras Kolomiyets /shutterstock)