Below is a follow-up to the oped piece: The Rape of the “Unnamed Girl.”
When darkness suffocates our innocent, humankind must rise up and conquer.
As you read these words, a mother, whose brain is riddled with tumors, is so paralyzed by the fear of losing her children that she is refusing medical treatment. She, like many of us, would do anything to protect her family.
“I told them to let me go. I had to leave or they might take my daughters completely,” said the 41-year-old mother in a voice choked by emotion. “I want to keep my family together. I don’t care if I sleep on the floor.”*
Her name is Maria and she is the mother of the unnamed girl who was repeatedly gang raped last fall in Cleveland, Texas.
On Monday, April 4, 2011 – six of the nineteen men and boys accused of taking part in a series of sexual assaults on Maria’s 11-year-old girl pleaded not guilty in a case that has horrified and divided their small town.
Maria has endured months of abuse from both the media and her community. Her skills as a mother have been ridiculed, as her 11-year old daughter was blamed for being gang-raped. Her daughter, when she needed her mother most, was then ripped from her arms and placed in foster care – where she still remains.
The unnamed girl was allowed a supervised visit to Maria in the hospital. Maria can’t forget how her daughter clung to her, “crying and crying,” only to be pried away.*
The tragedy continues –
Maria’s family has been forced to flee their home because of death threats. Her husband is unable to work due to a work-related back injury and only receives a $700 per month disability check; Maria supplements the check by cleaning houses. In addition to the unnamed girl, Maria has 3 other children. Meaning: $700 is the only steady income that is feeding five people.
“All of her children are worried that their mother may be dying,” said Brenda Myers, Operator of the Community and Children’s Impact Center in Cleveland.
In short: Maria and her family are destitute, without health insurance, missing one of their (broken) family members and facing an ugly court battle.
The judge presiding over the case said July 25, 2011 was the target start date of the first jury trial. As of now, it appears that each suspect will be tried individually, meaning the trials will likely continue into late summer or early fall.
I think Maria and her family have had enough; they need a little hope.
A trust (The Cleveland Crime Victim Fund) has been set up at the Amegy Bank of Houston by Latinas Enhancing Advocacy and Development and LULAC – donations can be made directly to Amegy Bank, by phone or by mail.
Amegy Bank is unable to create their own online donation center unless they take several weeks to prepare the requisite internal paperwork. Due to the expedited and dire nature of this situation, Hollywood Republican has stepped up and set up an online donation opportunity where 100% of the proceeds will go directly in to the fund. If you’re interested in donating, please click below: