Rape, Race, and Silence

Truly appalling report here discussing a horrific crime: a Haitian woman at Dunbar Village housing project in Florida was gang-raped for 3 hours by 10 teenagers, while her son was beaten. She was then forced to perform oral sex on her son, and both were temporarily blinded with bleach. What’s even worse is that (a) although the walls were paper-thin, nobody responded to the screams; (b) nobody called the police or helped them get to the hospital–they walked, blinded and bloody, on their own; (c) although only a few of the perpetrators have been caught, there has apparently been very little media attention. This is the sort of crime that would be on the front page of every paper and running round the clock on TV, if the woman was white. But there are some tricky issues here, concerning what gets noticed. As What About Our Daughters notes, it’s specifically black crime against blacks that is most ignored. If the victim is black and the assailants are white (as in the Duke rape case), black activists like Sharpton and Jackson can be counted on to get involved. But as she also notes, race is still relevant in a case like this (and not just because if the victim had been white it would have been a national scandal)– e.g. there’s a good case to be made that the degree to which Dunbar Village has been allowed to fall into a lawless state is due to its racial makeup. It’s also worth noting the apparent silence from many feminist organizations. In general, there’s so many people not speaking out who I’d expect to speak out that a part of me can’t help wondering: is there something I’m missing here? Please do fill me in if so. Got this story via The F-Word.

Update: There’s an excellent post by brownfemipower at Women of Color Blog, responding to the “solution” offered by Gem at What About Our Daughters (raze the Dunbar project to the ground).

8 thoughts on “Rape, Race, and Silence

  1. I don’t believe you’re missing anything here…there has been a great deal of silence‚ in my opinion‚ among the usual feminist suspects regarding matters that involve race – or so it seems to me – in recent years… Sadly‚ I think that many are wary of addressing such matters in the midst of the current backlash we seem to be fighting against – in a time when a multidimensional approach is needed to address the sexist⁄racist⁄classist⁄heterosexualist⁄etc issues that seem to bombard us day in and day out‚ it seems that very few are willing to stretch themselves beyond the obvious and overly–simplistic to address the all–encompassing nature of patriarchal and imperialistic domination

  2. Wow. Somehow, I hadn’t heard about this. The purely selfish part of me kind of wishes that I didn’t know about it now. It’s going to burn horrible images into my mind for a long time.

    But thank you for sharing it. Really. Someone needs to be paying attention.

  3. I know. I felt kind of guilty posting about it, knowing what it would do to readers. But it needs to get out there– please, anyone who’s got a relevant blog, do call attention to it!

  4. Do you all think anything can be done to help this lady? If so, what? And how many arrests have they made?

  5. What can be done?
    (1) From “What About Our Daughters?”: “The woman and her son are in hiding and need living expenses.The woman was a parishioner at Saint Ann’s Church in West Palm Beach. The church has set up a fund through Wachovia Bank to help her with moving and living expenses.
    Checks can be made payable to the Dunbar Village Victim Assistance Fund-St. Ann. They can be dropped off at any Wachovia branch or mailed to:
    St. Ann Catholic Church, 310 N. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach, FL 33401. The church’s phone number is (561) 832-3757.”
    (2) Publicise it– Blog, write letters, contact organisations that should be involved and aren’t.
    Arrests: Last I heard (via The Curvature, comment 4 above), 4 of the 10 had been arrested.

Comments are closed.