• Thu, Nov 29 2012

11-Year-Old Gang Rape Victim Accused Of Being Seductive Men-Luring Spider By Lawyer

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)

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  • Lilac

    I agree this is bad but did they know she was 11? My niece is 11 and has the height, weight and looks like she is 22. She also hangs out with guys who are 16 and 17. Her parents don’t like it but don’t even try to stop it. Also if there was going on for 4 months yeah I would have to blame the parents here. This is just another girl falling through the cracks.

    • http://www.xojane.com/author/eve Eve Vawter

      I have a cool idea. Why don’t we blame the rapists?

    • LindsayCross

      Our readers’ responses to that comment might have restored my faith in humanity.

    • JLH

      Does it matter? She hung out with older boys I suspect some if not all knew she wasn’t old enough to consent. Everyone wants to blame parents. How about blaming the 20 boys/men who certainly knew better? It’s a terrible thing lets blame someone other than the jerks who committed the crime. They couldn’t possibly be responsible for their behavior becuase they are only almost or actual adults.

    • JLH

      Does it matter? She hung out with older boys I suspect some if not all knew she wasn’t old enough to consent. Everyone wants to blame parents. How about blaming the 20 boys/men who certainly knew better? It’s a terrible thing lets blame someone other than the jerks who committed the crime. They couldn’t possibly be responsible for their behavior becuase they are only almost or actual adults.

    • Guest

      Yeah, there’s really no “I agree…but” in this one.

    • Guest

      Yeah, there’s really no “I agree…but” in this one.

    • CMJ

      No. Just no.

    • CMJ

      No. Just no.

    • Justme

      Did I miss something in the article about how her parents forced those boys to rape her? No? Then yeah…..let’s place the blame where it squarely belongs – with the men who raped.

    • Maggie

      So if they thought she was older than 11, it’s more understandable to brutally gang rape her? Get your damn head checked, woman. The only people at fault here are the men who CHOSE to rape her. Idiot.

    • Bling

      I know a little girl who looks much older than her age too. It doesn’t take 3 minutes of talking to her to figure out that she is actually a little kid.

    • Nat

      I’m so sure the parents said “Hey, come brutally assault and rape our daughter! Traumatizing her will be great!” No. Just… no. If I were her, I doubt I’d have told anyone, especially my parents. Blaming anyone other than the rapists makes you just as awful and terrible and disgustingly wrong as the people who victim blame. Girls don’t get raped because they hang out with older guys, look older, wear makeup, have short skirts, drink, or are freaking prostitutes. They get raped because they are the in the presence of rapists. Blaming anyone else is just…. I don’t even understand I’m sixteen, hang out with 18/19 year olds, look older, wear things that my dad hates. I hope I never get raped and that if I do, you’re not on the jury for my case. I don’t doubt you’d find my rapist not guilty on account that my parents let me hang out with older guys and wear shorts. -__-

    • KHR

      Unless there was a camera involved, I know of very few women who consent to having sex with 20 men in a short period of time. ANY struggle, crying, or the word ‘no’ should have tipped the men off that she didn’t want what they were doing to her. It was rape. I doubt her parents were standing there watching. Parents in poor areas are often very busy working trying to keep their family with a home and food. I know several poor parents who maybe see their kids a couple times a week, the kids get themselves to school, home from school, cook their own dinner, etc, and that’s not just limited to poor kids, I’ve seen that behavior with some very, very rich parents who were more concerned with their social schedule than time with their kids.
      How about we call a spade a spade, call a rape a rape, and not give any sympathy to a bunch of rapists, yeah? And how about we explore what leads to the attitude that a man is allowed to have sex with whomever he wants whenever he wants and feels he shouldn’t be punished for it.

  • bozzgirl

    I agree. It doesn’t matter what she wore or how she looked. I don’t care if she propositioned every single one of those men. An 11 year old does not have the mental capacity and emotional intelligence to make those kinds of decisions about her body. She was molested and was probably shamed into keeping silent for so long. I am disgusted by this whole thing and my disgust extends to that defense attorney as much as anything. I mean to slut shame a grown woman who was raped is bad enough, but to do it to a young girl is beyond reprehensible.

  • Lilac

    First off I was not saying the rapists should not be blamed but seriously did they know she was 11? If they knew then more extreme charges can be brought against them. That said Yes I blame the parents. I blame the parents of the 11 year old for not watching out for her. I blame the parents of the boys who raped her for not teaching there boys how to behave. Yes its sad this little girl fell through the cracks and I hope she is now receiving the therapy she needs.

    • chickadee

      “Fell through the cracks”??? You’re crazy. She was dragged into hell by those rapists who have no one go blame but themselves. You blame the parents? Why? These weren’t her contemporaries who raped her. They shouldn’t need to have been told by their parents not to rape little girls, or anyone at all. The blame belongs to the men who raped her.

    • Lilac

      Its stays clearly that she was raped over a period of 4 months. What parent is not aware of what is happening to there child for 4 months?

    • http://twitter.com/MegJ_26 Meg

      Bottom line: she was raped, it’s a crime, and you’re blaming the victim.

    • chickadee

      Ask that same question of the parents of daughters and sons who were molested by family members. Are those parents to blame as well because they didn’t know? Were you there? Do you know her family?

      The parents didn’t rape her.

    • Lilac

      Darn right those parents are to blame oh and before you get all up in my bottom I was molested and raped by my father! Oh and I told my mother. She wanted to preserve looking normal to the rest of the world than more protect her child. So I hope this isn’t the case.

    • chickadee

      “Up in your bottom”? No, thanks. And I am truly sorry that you were molested. Your mother betrayed you terribly. I hope you have gotten help in order to get through it.

      However, that doesn’t mean that this child’s parents behaved the same way that your mother did. A friend was molested by her grandfather, who lived close by, and her parents never knew. Why can’t this be xaae just as much as the other options?

    • Lisa

      Lilac, I was sexually assaulted by a friend’s brother repeatedly throughout my childhood.

      My parents STILL don’t know. I didn’t say anything and they didn’t exactly sit down to dinner every night and say “So sweetheart, has anyone sexually assaulted you today?”

      My parents are good parents, it doesn’t mean that they know every single thing that happened in my life.

    • StephKay

      Seconded. There was no possible way my parents could have known, even now as a mother I can see that. Sometimes the parents just couldn’t have done anything different, which is terrifying. But we aren’t talking about a gaggle of unsupervised kids here, the oldest rapist was technically old enough to be this little girls father. No amount of parent blaming could ever, ever lift even an ounce of the blame off of him and 17 of his buddies.

    • Justme

      I think you might be misplacing your own anger (albeit totally justified) at your mother onto blaming the parents for the tragedy that occurred to this girl. Who knows? You might be completely right and these parents were negligent when it came to their daughters safety. But I would venture to guess that most parents would be devastated to find out this had happened even once, let alone over the course of four months.

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      I think your reaction has more to do with your own situation than this one… It’s called counter-transferrance. Please realize that this situation has nothing to do with a father raping his daughter and the mother defending him. I’m sorry you went through what you did, but you shouldn’t project your feelings onto a completely separate situation…

    • lea

      Seriously, Lilac?

      Tell that to the hundreds of thousand of parents who’s children were molested by pedophiles and other sexual predators, who for decades had NO IDEA that their children were victims.
      Many of them don’t even find out until their child is a adult- some never find out.

      Are you really this naive?

    • http://www.facebook.com/houde.veronique Véronique Houde

      lol are you serious here? parents not being aware of what a preteen is doing 24/7? I hope you don’t personally have teenagers because if you found out everything that happened to them on a daily basis i think you’d die of a heart attack ;)

    • K.

      “fall through the cracks”??

      Are you hearing yourself? I’m sorry, but you have some really warped views on this.

  • To Celebrate Women

    In this world it’s always the woman’s fault. Always. Doesn’t matter if she was super young, threatened with violence, drugged, or whatever – men need someone to blame, and we weak vessels are their best target. We pretend it’s gotten better, but in reality it hasn’t. We need a huge overhaul of society or nothing will change.

  • K.

    We really have to stop talking about rape and sexual assault and sexual predation and molestation in the context of sexuality and start talking about it in the context of violence, because that is what all those things are: violent acts.

    If a guy walks into a convenience store and sticks a rifle in the cashier’s face and says, “Kind sir, may I please have all the money in the register?” and the cashier says, “Yes” and gives it to him, we don’t sit around debating whether the cashier could have been more defensive or proactive in preventing the robbery or if the cashier should have been prepared with his own gun or if his glasses and slight build made him look too much like an easy target. But we do this with rape victims. And it’s wrong.

    But regarding this case especially, whatever the victim said or did is IRRELEVANT because she is a minor and can’t give consent. There are plenty 11-year-old prostitutes out there who are out there actively soliciting sex–however, I’m sure that no one with half a brain would argue that minor-aged prostitutes are “consenting” or dispute the fact that such girls are victims themselves, not perpetrators and certainly not ‘black widows.’

  • Paranoid hermit

    I think that the problem is the way it was charged. People hear “rape” and they think “unwilling”. This article clearly says that the girl did not say “no” she said “yes”. However, they should have all been charged with child molesting because she was quite clearly under the age of consent. This would remove all doubt about whether or not she said yes or no meant anything. If the charge was child-molesting the defense could have brought out videos of her demanding that they all have sex with her and it wouldn’t have mattered, she was a child. I remember in Junior high having the “sex” talk so to speak which was discussing some broad issues with children nearing those hormonal years. The boys got the warning that the legal age was the legal age no matter what and that even if it’s your girlfriend and you’re only a few months apart that birthday can mean the difference between “that awkward first time” and a sex offender label. In this case it wouldn’t even be a discussion, A 27 year old?! HE should have been dragging her ass back to her parents to find out what on earth was going on and if they knew about it. I don’t care if she looked 50, someone there knew her, and knew how old she was. Someone who cared would’ve been smart enough to ask. We live in such a highly sexualized culture that she may have just been trying to fit in, without any ability to understand what she was doing or what the implications would be. It’s another symptom of multiple, much larger problems. We tend to focus on just one thing at a time rather than being willing to admit that while these men should all be labeled as the disgusting pedophiles they are without question. However, we should also be willing to say that parents should be paying more attention to their kids. It’s likely that this girl showed outward signs that we didn’t know about at one time but we do now. There are signs of problems. I don’t believe that she was robotic or that there is any excuse not to be an overbearing parent. If you don’t have the time, then enlist the help of others. I’m talking profiling your children and sometimes even others. For example, I was talking to a guy who was repeatedly approached by his girlfriend’s 13 year old daughter. He freaked and since it wasn’t working with her mom anyway, he bailed. What I thought about, and still think about, was the fact that her mom was moving men in and out of the house, she was 13 and coming on to her mom’s boyfriend, her mom didn’t seem to notice and had no problem leaving the girl home alone with a guy she had just barely started dating = The girl had most likely been molested at some point, likely repeatedly at a young enough age she had internalized it as appropriate behavior. I wish he’d known, that he hadn’t been so sheltered with a long marriage and male children, so naive. That he had thought to tell her mom to get the poor child help, I want to find them and tell them and have thought about it but I know it’s past the point of “helping” in that way. She’s old enough now that she’s going to have to find her way on her own and I sit and think about all the problems she could be having and that she may never be “normal”, it could be affecting her entire life! I’ve since watched his behavior with his younger son, he just turned 19. That means he all but cards girls as they walk through the door. They all come willingly but it’s a weekly speech. How old is she? Who are her parents? Do they know she’s here? What are you doing? You know if she’s too young you can get in a lot of trouble, don’t be messing with those young girls… etc. He son shakes his head but I’ve seen a difference. A beautiful blonde was all over him the other day and I wasn’t sure why he was treating her like he just wasn’t interested and finally figured out she was 16. Another example? Faux child porn. I won’t lie, I’m a porn fan. This shit makes me sick. I can’t stand it and it positively infuriates me that it’s legal, even when it’s marketed as shit like “13 and horny” or other repulsive titles. The idea that we’ve come to the point as a society that we can stomach this is something I still can’t wrap my mind around. I don’t care if the girl is 18 or how old she is, if a guy gets off on that type of thing he IS A PEDOPHILE whether he’s acted on it yet or not. At this point I’m beyond digression and haven’t even gotten to my rant about how the media treats younger and younger girls as sexualized destroying decent society while marketing our children for another dollar. I hope someone can help this girl and that we start focusing on every single aspect of the society we’ve created. I don’t believe in saying “Don’t get raped” but I do believe in saying rape is never ok, child molesting is never ok, pay attention to the kids, do everything you can to make sure you’re safe, do everything you can to make sure your kids are safe, get involved and band together. If every angled is covered we can make changes… Well I hope we can, not that this election year left me with any faith. But at the end of this rant, if you’re reading this you’re dedicated obviously, I want to encourage people to stay calm in the beginning of discussions like this, ask people to clarify before you use strong language and hurtful words. I’ve asked someone more than once to clarify what they mean. If you say “Where are the parents?” does that mean you don’t think that these men should be blamed at all or do you mean that the fact that these men should be blamed is so astoundingly obvious that you didn’t even think it warranted reiteration? We all speak the same language but we don’t all speak it the same way. It doesn’t take that long to ask, if it turns out that the person is saying something as shitty as you originally thought, then have at it. I myself get too worked up and tend to abandon idiots as a lost cause unless we meet in person…

  • March

    I know, unrelated, but you need to edit your posts more carefully. You dragged the lead singer of Aerosmith into this messy story, and I don’t know what he has or hasn’t done or whether he has sons, but surely he is NOT involved in this!

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