The Sexual Assault Streamed on Facebook Underscores the Lack of Safety for Black Girls
Last weekend in Chicago, a 15-year-old Black girl was raped by a gang of five or six boys and men. Making it several levels more horrific, this vicious assault was streamed on Facebook Live.
The survivor’s mother notified Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson on Monday after her daughter had been missing for nearly 24 hours. She was found at 7:45AM on Tuesday morning and was taken to Comer Children’s Hospital and treated for her injuries. The family has been receiving threats since filing the police report.
The girl was apparently walking through her own neighborhood the last time her cousin, whom she had been spending the day with last Sunday, saw her. She was going to get a snack from a store. That was the last time she was seen before the assault.
Her cousin told the Chicago Tribune that he was devastated by the news.
“If we don’t stand up and do anything about it now, who knows if the next kid this happens to, maybe they don’t get to come home. Maybe this doesn’t get to have a happy ending.”
The CPD expressed concern that 40 people watched the Facebook Live video and did not report this horrible assault to the police. Of course, any callous feeling toward this violence is certainly disturbing and appropriate authorities should always be contacted in these cases. This case is reminiscent of recent acts of violence against black women and girls that have been ignored or overlooked by the public.
A looming question hangs over this issue: If Black girls are assaulted in their own neighborhoods and cannot depend on people to speak up for them, how can they be safe?
This violence echoes the crimes of former Oklahoma City Police Officer Daniel Holtzclaw, who was convicted for the rape of seven black women and one black girl. These women were targeted by Holtzclaw in their neighborhoods, unable to speak up for themselves, since they were already vulnerable before the law due to criminal records.
This case also reminds me of the 10 Black and Latinx girls missing in D.C. since January, an extraordinary number that is apparently ordinary, according to typical missing rates in the DC area. While many Black outlets and activists have drawn attention to this issue, mainstream media and politicians have paid little attention and shown little care that this is happening.
While the CPD is rightly concerned that a large number of individuals watched this crime and did nothing, the police, and CPD certainly, are not always heroes and are often harmful when it comes to protecting Black women and girls. In a world where a Chicago Police Officers attempt to rape a woman at a party and have the charges dropped, it is understandable why one might be hesitant before calling the police to handle a sexual assault.
It is beyond heartbreaking that a young girl could be violated in such a manner by people in her own neighborhood, and that her attackers would be so shameless as to post their crimes for all the world to see. We must value, uplift, and protect Black girls and women at all times so that the world knows that this violence and cruelty is absolutely unacceptable.
Photo Credits: Wiki-Commons