Chloe and Lori Ride Bolt Bus, Talk Victim-Blaming

Chloe and I rode the Bolt Bus yesterday on our way to Harvard for Feminist Coming Out Day. On the way, we realized we had some things to get off our chest! Transcript after the jump.

CHLOE: Hey everyone, it’s Chloe and Lori

LORI: What’s going on?

CHLOE: Coming to you live from the Bolt Bus, Boston bound

LORI: Indeed we are…

CHLOE: We’re heading up this week for Feminist Coming Out Day at Harvard and we got to talking while we were on the bus and we’re really pissed off at the NYT.

LORI: We are. So in today’s edition of “what are the feminists pissed off about today?” We are just appalled by the coverage that the NYT issued yesterday about a horrific story about a gang rape of an 11year old girl. Some of the choice quotes included in this lovely piece of journalism voiced concern about the alleged rapists, although I don’t remember – maybe you saw this?- but I don’t remember them issuing a similar amount of concern for the victim.

CHLOE; Actually no concern for the 11 year old gang rape victim.

LORI: There were a lot of quotes about how the men were going to have to live with this for the rest of their lives, and…

CHLOE: What was her mother thinking

LORI: Yeah, what WAS she thinking, going out and getting her daughter raped?

CHLOE: So first of all, I think it’s important to say that we understand that the quotes in this article don’t reflect the views of every single person in the town of Cleveland, Texas. However I think it’s pretty bad reporting on the part of the NYT to not include any commentary on those comments, perhaps a suggestion that this might not be the best attitude to take, sympathizing with the rapists, or blaming the girl herself, or her mother, and I find it hard to believe that they weren’t able to find any comments expressing that sentiment from citizens of the town of Cleveland, Texas, and that was a point that Mac McLellan mad at Mother Jones yesterday, that this was some terrible reporting.

LORI: So the tiny little sliver of a silver lining…

CHLOE: I think it’s a large sliver….I think it’s a considerable sliver

LORI: A large sliver, ok. We have a significant sliver, and it’s that over 16,000 people have stepped up to tell the NYT that their coverage of this story has been incredibly unacceptable and they’ve signed a petition on saying so. And that’s actually a really amazing reminder that people don’t want to accept victim blaming and we’re moving away from that slowly but surely.

CHLOE: And there is some great reporting going on from the Houston Chronicle, more well-rounded reporting that includes quotes from people that managed to muster sympathy for an 11-year-od gang rape victim.

LORI: It’s hard, I know. It’s hard.

CHLOE: And a lot of critique coming out of the blogosphere of the reporting and of the victim-blaming attitude, or rather the rapist-sympathizing attitude. Lori?

LORI: So basically what we want to do is remind you guys to go onto and sign the petition. This isn’t just about something being politically incorrect or some piece of journalism that didn’t live up to our expectations. This is about our health and lives. I personally reading that article found myself thinking: well I’m someone that wears make up, I’m someone who socializes with boys, I’m someone who wears clothes that I think are pretty and attractive, does this mean that I am more deserving of getting raped?This is about our lives and our health and it’s really important that we show the NYT and other news outlets that it matters how they’re covering these issues, and we care.

CHLOE: So sign the petition. Encourage your friends and family to do that. Keep writing, keep blogging. Write a letter to the editor of the NYT. Take action. This is up to us.

LORI: And happy Thursday. Hope you’re not stuck on a bus like us.

Brooklyn, NY

Lori Adelman started blogging with Feministing in 2008, and now runs partnerships and strategy as a co-Executive Director. She is also the Director of Youth Engagement at Women Deliver, where she promotes meaningful youth engagement in international development efforts, including through running the award-winning Women Deliver Young Leaders Program. Lori was formerly the Director of Global Communications at Planned Parenthood Federation of America, and has also worked at the United Nations Foundation on the Secretary-General's flagship Every Woman Every Child initiative, and at the International Women’s Health Coalition and Human Rights Watch. As a leading voice on women’s rights issues, Lori frequently consults, speaks and publishes on feminism, activism and movement-building. A graduate of Harvard University, Lori has been named to The Root 100 list of the most influential African Americans in the United States, and to Forbes Magazine‘s list of the “30 Under 30” successful mediamakers. She lives in Brooklyn, NY.

Lori Adelman is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Partnerships.

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