The “rape” versus “sexual assault” question, again

As a reader pointed out last night, the New York Times article on the gang rape of an 11 year old girl in Texas failed to mention that the eighteen perpetrators are black. In addition, the story does not mention that this event took place in what is evidently a black community. Normally, the Times is quick to identify a black neighborhood or community as such, at least when they are saying something good about it.

Also noteworthy is that the Times article merges the concepts of rape and sexual assault. At the beginning of the piece, the writer, James C. McKinley Jr., refers to the arrest of “18 young men and teenage boys on charges of participating in the gang rape of an 11-year-old girl in the abandoned trailer home.” But when McKinley gets to the actual account of the crime he says:

There the girl was ordered to disrobe and was sexually assaulted by several boys in the bedroom and bathroom. She was told she would be beaten if she did not comply, the affidavit said.

A relative of one of the suspects arrived, and the group fled through a back window. They then went to the abandoned mobile home, where the assaults continued.

Just last month there was massive confusion over whether CBS correspondent Lara Logan had been raped or sexually assaulted by Egyptian men in Tahrir Square. Based on CBS’s laconic announcement that she had been sexually assaulted, many people, not knowing the difference between rape and sexual assault, initially believed that she had been raped, and only gradually came to understand that she had been sexually assaulted, not raped. You would think that as a result of such experiences the media would try to avoid confusing the two ideas. Instead, the Times continues to treat them as one.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at March 10, 2011 09:36 AM | Send

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