“I grew up with them boys, they don’t deserve to be in jail for all them years. She made it up, It never happen”. The young baby face boy who had only been in high school for a couple of weeks were referring to the crimes that occur summer 2007 in Dunbar Village, a housing project where he grew up and currently resides. The boys were his friends, people he had known all his life. The immigrant Haitian woman and child who lives were torn apart due to these boys were inconsequential in his world, the only meaning they have were that they were the ones who took his friends away. His statement resolves all guilt from the young men and their actions, while placing the blame solely on the victim. Swallowing hard I look deep into the eyes of this young man, who was the same age of some of the assailants of the crime who ages ranged from 13- 18 years old. Was I looking at somebody who could have possibly participated in these crimes? When hearing about the horrific crime that occurred in Dunbar Village and the number of assailants, one can’t help but wonder why didn’t any of the 10 males try and stop the crime or even turn themselves in? How can anyone be a part of the sadistic actions that were committed? Someone had to be a voice of reason; someone had to know that this was wrong and needed to be stopped. Perhaps the blame lay on the assailants intoxicated state or the momentum of the crime along with mob mentality. But this young man was sober and alone and didn’t see the guilt that lay in the young man’s hands. This boy was has long reached the point in his life where he can differentiate between right and wrong. He has a mother, sister and according to him a girlfriend would he be ok with someone commenting the same atrocities on them. This boy who sees nothing wrong with a brutal attack on a woman and her child, only sympathizing with the assailants, he is sadly like so many in our community. When this story first broke, a certain level of disgust and outrage is expected from the residents of the community, but there was none instead there was anger from the news coverage of the crime. “So a lady was raped. Big deal,” resident Paticiea Matlock said with disgust. “There’s too much other crime happening here.” (AP, 2007) How a woman could declare the rape of another woman no big deal? How could she not feel for another human being that shared her same neighborhood? Where was the empathy for a fellow poor, black woman in America?
Dunbar Village is a neighbor jaded by experiences of poverty, crime, murder and rape. The stories of the people in this housing project are share a theme of hurt, betrayal and abandonment. Their voices and pain often overshadowed by the pretty beaches and bright Florida sun, angry because it takes a brutal rape for people in their city, state, country and world to know that they are there, that they are hurting. So they will stand and try to protect their boys and the name of their community because even if it means disregarding the pain inflicted on this poor Haitian immigrant woman and her son.
2 years later four of the ten men have been convicted of the crime, with more arrest still to come. Dunbar Village now has better security including a working gate and surveillance camera. Plans are under way to destroy the 60 year old housing complex in hopes to build a safer affordable housing community. Sadly the wounds are still present in the victim and the community has or will ever get over this crime. When there are a thousands of community similar to Dunbar Village, who residents lack the same access to opportunity, share in the epidemic of fatherless children, drugs and crime run rampant all making for the perfect conditions to create children to inflict this type of terror on their communities; What do you do to stop this from ever happening again. What is our responsibility in this? What are you going to do?
-Just Tab…but hopefully inciting just the change this world needs.
*I purposely didn’t go into the exact crimes that were committed in order not to glorified or inflict any more pain on this woman and her family than needed. For more information on the crimes you can visit http://www.palmbeachpost.com/news/content/local_news/epaper/2009/08/28/0828dunbar.html*