The Latest Victim-Blamers: The New York Times?

by Katie Oldaker

A news story has been making the rounds about an 11-year-old girl who was gang-raped by a group of males in a small town in Texas. Eighteen young men and boys have been arrested in connection with the case, which would seem like justice is starting to be served, but The New York Times has begun to go ahead and undermine it! An article by James C. McKinley Jr., posted yesterday on the NYT’s website, includes such choice quotes like “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives” from a local nurse who knows several defendants, as well as accounts from neighbors that “…the victim had been visiting various friends there for months. They said she dressed older than her age, wearing makeup and fashions more appropriate to a woman in her 20s.”

Really, New York Times? I mean, really? I’ve come to expect victim-blaming from places like Fox News, but I’m pretty sure even they have the journalistic integrity to not victim-blame AN ELEVEN YEAR OLD. McKinley’s story even relays the fact that there is cellphone video evidence of the victim being assaulted and yet still goes on to attempt to undermine her claims by bringing in totally unrelated anecdotes from neighbors–like that the victim would “hang around with teenage boys at a playground.” Oh, man, a young girl being at a playground? Must mean she’s asking for it!

I’m pissed. If you’re pissed too, has a petition you can sign to let the New York Times know that this kind of “reporting” is totally unacceptable. At the very least, I hope they apologize, but it’d be nice if they canned the “reporter” behind the story too, because I’d like to see James C. McKinley Jr. try to get another job when posts like these show up when people Google him.

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