Why did we even get out of bed this morning?

**Trigger warning**

Today’s headlines are grim. They’re beyond grim. They’re depressing as all hell. First, there came the news that in Cleveland, TX, an 11-year-old girl was gang-raped by as many as 18 men. The story is gruesome – she was beaten, a cell-phone recording of the attack was passed around her school – and my heart goes out to this young girl and her family.

You know who my heart doesn’t go out to? The people in the town of Cleveland, TX who are engaging in some truly spectacular victim-blaming. The Times reports that:

Residents in the neighborhood where the abandoned trailer stands — known as the Quarters — said 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. She would hang out with teenage boys at a playground, some said.
“Where was her mother? What was her mother thinking?” said Ms. Harrison, one of a handful of neighbors who would speak on the record. “How can you have an 11-year-old child missing down in the Quarters?”

What was her mother thinking? What about the more than dozen men who brutally raped an 11-year-old child? What were they thinking? But no, let’s lay the blame where it belongs: with the mother of the rape victim, the slutty, slutty 11-year-old who wore makeup and therefore deserves whatever she gets. While we’re at it, let’s express our sympathy for the real victims here:

“It’s just destroyed our community,” said Sheila Harrison, 48, a hospital worker who says she knows several of the defendants. “These boys have to live with this the rest of their lives.”

Excellent point, Sheila Harrison, 48. You know who else will have to live with this the rest of her life? If you guessed “the 11-year-old girl who was brutally gang-raped,” you guessed right! But you’re right, this must be really hard for the rapists. Poor, poor rapists.

So there’s that. Then, there’s this story, about a trans woman in Arkansas, who was murdered, apparently shot and dragged behind a car until she died. While the investigation is still ongoing , the murder of Marcal Camero Tye appears to have been a hate crime. Oh, and the sheriff and the police reports refer to Tye as “he” and as a “cross-dresser.”

Then, there’s the rape-tastic email, purportedly sent on a fraternity email list at USC, that claims that “females” – referred to in the email as “targets” to be sought for their “pies” and “gullets” (guess) – “aren’t actual people like us men. Consequently, giving them a certain name or distinction is pointless.”

All of which leads us wondering: why did we even get out of bed this morning? Oh yeah, we got out of bed to fight this culture of violence and sexism and hatred, so that one day, headlines like these won’t happen.

That said, does anyone have any good news today? If you have some good news, please, for the love of all that is holy, post it in the comments section.

New York, NY

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia. She joined the Feministing team in 2009. Her writing about politics and popular culture has been published in The Atlantic, The Guardian, New York magazine, Reuters, The LA Times and many other outlets in the US, Australia, UK, and France. She makes regular appearances on radio and television in the US and Australia. She has an AB in Sociology from Princeton University and a PhD in Arts and Media from the University of New South Wales. Her academic work focuses on Hollywood romantic comedies; her doctoral thesis was about how the genre depicts gender, sex, and power, and grew out of a series she wrote for Feministing, the Feministing Rom Com Review. Chloe is a Senior Facilitator at The OpEd Project and a Senior Advisor to The Harry Potter Alliance. You can read more of her writing at chloesangyal.com

Chloe Angyal is a journalist and scholar of popular culture from Sydney, Australia.

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