Originally posted November 12, 2007.
On June 18, 2007, the woman had returned from her job delivering phone books. She lived with her 12-year-old son in Dunbar Village, a public housing project in Florida. An immigrant from Port-au-Prince, Haiti, she was hard-working and conscientious. She had been a nurse until she injured her back and had to seek other work. It didn’t come easily, she struggled to make it, and finally moved to the housing project. She knew it was a dangerous place to live, but her options were few. She stayed inside, she said, kept to herself. She worked hard to keep her son out of harm’s way.
On this day she was inside fixing dinner. Someone knocked on the door and she answered and was told the tires on her car were flat. She went out to investigate and found that her tires were fine. Returning to her home she was met by masked men carrying guns. They forced her and her son inside and demanded money. She said she had very little. Over the next three hours she was raped and sodomized by at least six men. Some of them raped her more than once. After they had all raped her, they forced her to perform sex acts on her son, whom they had beaten. They poured chemicals in the son’s eyes and doused both mother and son with cleaning agents in an attempt to remove traces of DNA. They took photos of the attacks with their cell phone cameras. They intended to set the two on fire, but could find no lighter. They left with the little the small family had — telephone, cell phone, fax machine, Nintendo Playstation 2. When they’d been gone half an hour, one returned and raped the woman one more time. He then wrote his name and cell phone number on a slip of paper and told the mother where he hung out.
There was talk that the attacks were payback for the mother having reported some of the attackers throwing trash in her yard, and because she would not allow her son to hang out in a certain building in the complex.
Devastated, the woman and the boy cried. After an hour or so they walked two miles to the nearest hospital.
Over the following weeks the rapists were apprehended. The oldest was 18, the youngest 14. They are sons of brokenness. Their parents are devastated, disbelieving, raging. They were tried as adults and may spend the rest of their lives in jail, some of them. Because they were tried as adults, their names and pictures were in the newspapers and other media.
The woman and her son moved away. She is a Christian and her church, a Roman Catholic church, set up a fund for her at Wachovia Bank. The boy’s father lives in Haiti. The boy, the woman says, is angry with her for moving to Dunbar Village. She prays and asks God to help her. Local pastors gathered to perform a ceremony of healing and to offer their support, but really, she has received comparatively little support.
Nicole, with whom I’ve worked to support the New Jersey 4, e-mailed me to let me know about an action planned in Washington D.C. this coming Friday. Blacksapience writes:
In an effort to bring more light to this story and to confront black “leaders” about their peculiar silence regarding this case, particularly Al Sharpton, it became clear to me that we can organize a counter protest to the Hate Crimes March in DC on November 16, 2007 from 12 noon – 2:00pm at the Department of Justice. If Sharpton, King III, and to others can take to the streets to chide the Federal Government for inaction on investigating and actively prosecuting hate crimes, surely we can criticize the good Reverend and his colleagues, for the very same thing. As Gina would put it, “Let’s call people out for the Immoral Indifference”.
Let me be clear, this is NOT an attempt to get Mr. Sharpton (OR HIS ILK) to advocate for Dunbar Village and others; clearly we have taken on the onus of advocating for them. I merely want ACKNOWLEDGEMENT from Mr. Shaprton (whose presence alone commands national media attention… good or bad) that this kind of sadistic, calculated, weaponized, form of rape and torture will not be tolerated! To quote the esteemed writer/scholar/activist/feminist Audre Lorde, “[our] silence will not protect [us].” I am tired, angry, and ready to accept this moral call-to-arms, if you will, to place the same premium on black womanhood as society places on white womanhood. Will you join me and others as we organize ourselves to challenge the collective conscience of the black community and America as a whole? Put your outrage, disgust, and disappointment to action! If you can be there,
WHAT: SILENCE is NOT GOLDEN
WHERE: United States Department of Justice
950 PENNSYLVANIA AVENUE, NW
WHEN: Friday, November 16, 2007 from 12:00 noon – 2:00p.m
WHO: ANYONE WHO CARES ABOUT BLACK WOMEN!
CONTACT: Shane (Sayeed aka BLKSeaGoat) at 404.246.2677 or firstname.lastname@example.org, 24 hrs/7 days a week.