Petition Closed

Just one month after the New York Times blamed an 11-year-old victim for her brutal gang-rape ( petition), it issues another report which also engages in victim-blaming:

“There were certain things that she remembered from that night, and some things that she did not. She recalled dancing and drinking at a bar in Park Slope, Brooklyn, celebrating a job promotion with friends, but even that was a bit hazy. Her next recollection, she testified in the rape trial of two New York City police officers, was waking up in the back of a taxicab outside her apartment building in the East Village, lying on her side and vomiting. Then she remembered tugging herself up the red handrail of her apartment building’s staircase, escorted by two men in navy blue suits with radios crackling.” 

Over the next few minutes, or perhaps hours, she drifted in and out of consciousness, she said. But she did remember waking up, lying face down on her bed, suddenly aware that someone was removing clothing from her legs.” 

“… After her tights were removed, she said, she heard “the rustling of clothing and very loud Velcro ripping,” alluding to a sound that prosecutors have said matched that of a bullet-resistant vest being removed. “I was so intoxicated I couldn’t say or do anything,” the woman testified. “My body was complete dead weight.” The woman, 29, told the jury that she had blacked out, waking later as she was being raped, the man positioned behind her.” 

The above and other excerpts from the piece imply that the victim was to blame for her attack (because she had been drinking) and calls into question the victim's credibility in the case. This is dangerous and unacceptable.  

The New York Times needs to take responsibility for its coverage of rape and stop its blaming of victims for their ordeals.


Letter to
Editor, New York Times Bill Keller
Public Editor, New York Times Arthur S. Brisbane
Reporter, New York Times John Eligon
and 2 others
Reporter, New York Times James C. McKinley Jr.
Vice President, Corporate Communications, New York Times Eileen Murphy
It is time for the New York Times to stop blaming victims of rape for their ordeal.

Just one month after James C. McKinley Jr. wrote a piece for the New York Times that blamed an 11-year-old girl in Texas for her gang-rape ("Vicious Assault Shakes Texas Town"), John Eligon issued a piece which again victim-blames and serves only to call into question the credibility of a victim in New York who was raped after a night of drinking ("At Trial, Accuser Recalls, in Pieces, Night of Rape"). Not only does this coverage signal to attackers that it is acceptable (and potentially unindictable) to rape a drunk woman, it also implies to such victims that their accounts will not be believed.

Rape is rape, and victim-blaming is always unacceptable. Please hold the reporters of the New York Times to account and insist that they report on rape responsibly, fairly and without prejudice.