I originally heard this story from my roomie, and I blocked it out for the most part because, really, who can spend every fucking day hearing about awful things happening to other people? Yeah, I could have come and put a post up here saying: "This was an awful, awful thing that happened, and that makes me sad/angry/tired," but there are six million posts like that every time a story like this hits the blogosphere, and lately I have been big on not speaking unless I have something to say.
It wasn't until I started seeing the ripples around the blogroll that I realized I did have something to say...
I am officially uncomfortable with the way this story is being presented. I think that with a few exceptions, its being framed problematically at best.
It starts with the police reporting that they have removed an 8yr old Liberian rape victim from her family because her family views her status as "raped" as a shame on them. Then there are the echoes of "down with victim blaming!" and "how could a family do that?" in the blogosphere, echoes which take the police accusations at face value as soon as they hear where the girl's family is from. The more diplomatic places talk about how victim blaming is bad no matter where it comes from, but there is still that assumption that the initial domino was pushed over in good faith. No second thoughts about how maybe this bears deeper investigation considering the rampant xenophobia, racism and Islamophobia in this country. Nope, the police are totes trustworthy in matters of race and cultural honesty. they would never, ever do something based completely on stereotypes!
::steps up to podium, clears throat::
Now, this happened in the Southwest, so some could say that it isn't exactly a bastion of liberal thought. However, the place that supposedly is this countries such bastion is centered around places like Boston and Cambridge, and look at the shit that has gone down with their law enforcement and race relations lately.
And even if she is in danger from her family because of what these boys did to her, victim blaming, shaming and mistreatment of rape victims is a global problem (not necessarily universal, but I don't have any specific examples where it is not present,) it crosses cultures, religions, races, and traditions. Acting like this case is something particularly egregious when it happens Every Damn Day is playing into the "Western World = more advanced" meme and the inherently racist "its their culture!" meme.
Its OUR culture. We are all immersed in it, and we are ALL responsible for ending it.