In July, a 16-year-old Houston teen named Jada was raped at a party, an assault that was photographed, with the images then passed around on social media. MSNBC's Ronan Farrow is reporting that two people have been arrested in the case, an adult and a minor; he displayed the adult's mug shot but did not report his name. Farrow spoke to Jada Tuesday, who told him, "I would like to see justice. Justice in full effect and that's it."
Images of an unconscious Jada as well as pictures mocking her were shared on social media under the hashtag #jadapose. In response, in an effort launched by Farrow, Jada's supporters started using the hashtag #IamJada. On Tuesday, the teenager and a family spokesperson, Quanell X, a local leader in the New Black Panther Party, told the host they're relieved and grateful the suspects have been arrested.
"It's wonderful about the arrests, but I'm just grateful and thankful for everyone who followed and supported me," the teenager told him.
Quanell X questioned why the investigation had taken so long, telling Farrow, "[T]here was so much evidence, mountains of evidence, to show Jada was not the only young girl that they had did this to." They learned at one point that different investigators had taken on the case, he said. "So it did take quite a long period of time with so much evidence out there, even these young men's confession and being braggadocious about it in social media. We thought it should have been arrest a long time ago and why it took so long we still are raising that question and not got an answer yet."
Quanell X's involvement as a spokesperson is interesting, given that in 2011 he held a rally in support of 18 men accused of raping an 11-year-old girl in the small town of Cleveland, Texas. In that case, he partially blamed the girl's parents for the attack, implying that if they had raised her differently, it would not have occurred. He questioned why the 11-year-old victim didn't go to the police, and said that while some of those arrested were indeed guilty, "We do not want someone with a malicious racist motive to rid your community of an entire generation of black men." Farrow did not ask him whether his views on sexual assault prosecutions have changed.
Jada said the same classmates who circulated photos of her rape are still not very supportive: "From my community, there's very little support still, such as the teenagers, but as adults, they're very supportive. And people outside of my community are very supportive." When Farrow asked what she'd learned from going through such a public ordeal, she replied, "I learned that some people have hearts and some people just go with what they hear."
Image via MSNBC