Firestorm Over Alleged Gang Rape

Advocates react to the publicity surrounding the alleged gang rape of an 11-year old east Texas child. The head of the Houston area women’s center says victims of such a crime are not to blame. Pat Hernandez has more.

Authorities say 13 adults and 5 juveniles have been arrested in connection wth the alleged rape last year of an 11-year old girl in Cleveland northeast of Houston. The incident seems to be focusing on the girl and her parents as much as the 18-people accused of assaulting her. Black activist Quannel X held a town hall meeting about the case, during which he suggested the girl and her parents may have been at fault. That infuriated women’s rights advocates.

“No one wants to be sexually assaulted. No one causes a sexual assault to occur to to themselves.”

Rebecca White is president and CEO of the Houston Area Women’s Center. She says unfortunately we live in a world in which rape victims are blamed for the crime.

“It’s perpetrators who are responsible for these actions and victims are not to blame. They should not stigmatized or characterized or scrutinized. They need to be supported and believed. And that is what we as victim’s advocates believe, and we just wanted to make sure that the victim didn’t get lost in all of this.”

She says victims need to feel safe enough to report a rape to police.

“If they cannot come forward because of what they’re afraid that will be said about them, then they will not come forward and get the help that they need and consequently, those who perpetrate terrible crimes like this will go free, will not be held accountable for what they’ve done.”

A judge has issued a gag order in the case. Those tried as adults could face 25 years to life in prison if convicted on charges of sexual abuse of a child, a first degree felony in Texas.