Some of us understand the prevalence of rape. Some of us even know how such heinous, inhumane acts affect the psyche. And even though some of us have grasped these concepts, we were still astounded to learn of Jada. The Houston teenager was not only drugged and raped by two different men, images of her naked body sprawled across the floor were posted all over social media. They even created a hashtag, #jadapose. And as if this weren’t enough, people were using Twitter and other social media websites to shame Jada, blaming her for her own rape.
This story could have ended tragically. But luckily, instead of keeping it to herself or being to ashamed to speak up, Jada fought for herself. And thousands across the country, including celebrities, fought with her, creating the #IAmJada hashtag.
Thankfully, today, five months after the incident occurred, MSNBC reported that two people have been arrested in Jada’s rape. One of them a grown man and another, a minor.
This is what Jada had to say about the arrests, support from her followers and what a family spokesperson had to say about legislation and cyberbullying.
“It’s wonderful about the arrests. But I’m just grateful and thankful for everyone who followed and supported me.”
“I would like to see justice. Justice in full effect and that’s it.”
Quanell X, a local leader of the New Black Panther Party and the family’s spokesperson said that he was surprised it took authorities so long to make an arrest when both accused rapists confessed and were even bragging about the incident on social media. There was also evidence that showed Jada wasn’t the only girl they did this to. But at one point another investigator took over the case.The adult man was charged with two counts of child sex assault.
Jezebel exposed Quanell X’s interesting backstory. In 2011, 13 African American men were accused of gang raping an 11-year-old Hispanic girl. X held a rally that seemed to play on the tension between the Black and Latino community, asking the group where was the girl’s mother, father and even asking why an 11-year-old child, who had been assaulted by these two men before on a separate occasion, didn’t report her rape to the police. Quite sick and in direct contention with the story he’s supporting today.
Commenters on Jezebel have argued that Quanell follows the cameras. But perhaps there’s more to it. Maybe X felt justified in blaming a Hispanic girl if it would protect the images of these Black men, though some of them admitted their guilt as well. The point is a child should never be blamed for something like this–nor should she be further shamed with questions about why she didn’t report it.
Perhaps he’s had a change of heart on rape victims and his former rape apologists views. But either way, severe side eye to Quanell…
As far as this case goes though, X hopes the social media attention Jada’s story has raised will help legislatures make some type of move against cyberbullying.
“I believe that we’re attempting to work with state legislatures right here in Texas to make cyber bullying a crime. Because you have so many people out there who are victims of sexual assault but they don’t want to be bullied through social media, so they tend to keep their stories to themselves and never come forth. We don’t want to allow social media, which has been a gift and a curse in many cases, to stop victims from speaking up about being a victim of a sexual assault or a crime.”
Jada says her life is not the same anymore but it’s also not the worst. She also said that while she hasn’t gotten much support from the teenagers in her community, the adults and people she doesn’t know have been very supportive.
Ronan Farrow asked Jada before she left what advice she would give to others who find themselves in a similar situation.
My advice to you guys is just to pray and speak out and just tell nothing but the truth.
Is she glad she spoke out?
Yes, I am glad because I needed my story to be heard.
What have you learned from all of this?
“I learned that some people have hearts and some people just go off of what they hear.”
What do you want to do in the future?
“I would like to keep working on this with others, other people who are going through this in the near future. But I would like to go to college and then become a pharmacist.”
Again, we commend and even thank Jada for stepping forward after an unimaginable ordeal and using her trauma to help others. We wish her nothing but the best.