Brace yourself for the most stomach-turning story in a long time: on Friday, a 15-year-old girl was brutally gang-raped after a homecoming dance in a suburb of San Francisco, while as many as 15 teenage boys stood around, doing nothing.
The victim was leaving the dance in Richmond, CA — a suburb of San Francisco, not too far from Antioch, where Phillip Garrido held Jaycee Dugard — when a classmate invited her to drink with him in a secluded area near the school. She agreed, becoming so inebriated that she fell over, at which point as many as seven young men raped her, beat her, took photographs, and stole her jewelry. They assaulted her for two-and-a-half hours, injuring her so badly that she had to be flown from the scene in critical condition.
A gang rape always has the added awfulness that the rapists are comfortable enough with their crime to commit it in front of others. This case is especially bad because the girl’s attackers continued in front of multiple witnesses, assuming that they would do nothing. That assumption was correct. In fact, it was someone hearing about the assault at a local house party who called the cops. Richmond police lieutenant Mark Gagan said, “What makes it even more disturbing is the presence of others. People came by, saw what was happening, and failed to report it.”
At first I thought this was a Kitty Genovese situation, in which indifferent bystanders failed to help a crime victim. In fact, it’s worse. CNN’s Nick Valencia writes that, “as many as 15 people, all males, stood around watching the assault, but did not call police or help the victim.” Gagan adds, “As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated.” This isn’t a case of people turning their heads away and saying “none of my business.” It’s a situation in which 15 boys and men (one suspect in custody is 19, the other 15) treating public, brutal assault as a form of entertainment.
Anyone who went to a big, rough high school has seen this happen with a fight — everybody in the school rushes to the scene, cheering, booing, and even joining in as kids beat each other up. This practice is bad enough, exposing teen bloodlust and lack of compassion, but adding sexual assault to the mix makes the onlookers’ situation all the more heinous. That all said onlookers were male seems important here — were they so afraid of having their masculinity questioned that they couldn’t say anything? Or, more disturbingly, were they enthusiastic about the event, participating, however vicariously, in some kind of conquest? Whatever the case, not one, not two, but fifteen young men watched a gang-rape take place and essentially chose to side with the rapists — as Yes Means Yes would say, “that’s rape culture.”
I’m lightheaded with shock and appall after reading this. I can’t even form thoughts in rebuttal. Seriously. This is going to take way the fuck more than a hot chocolate to get over. (For those that don’t know me, I’m generally fairly certain a hot chocolate will fix all my problems.)
Here’s some comments I “enjoyed” from the Jezebel post:
I’m going to hand in my “homo sapien” card. If this is the group I’m classified with, I’d rather be something else.
And this is a key example of why guys need to go past giving lip service and actively help to dismantle the rape culture. You in particular not being a rapist is no longer sufficient. It is about you in particular being strategically situated to help potential victims and spark change in situations where women are viewed as nameless, faceless pieces of ass, to be used and exploited as men see fit. This is the patriarchy, right here, and it is high time that it was toppled. I hope they press charges on all of those worthless bystanders as well for aiding and abetting these gangraping assholes.
Paging Michael Kimmel – I heard him speak to a group of students and this was almost exactly what he said, “You in particular not being a rapist is no longer sufficient.”
[This is in reference to men needing to take an active role in stopping rape culture. Not being a rapist, is no longer sufficient. I echo this too in feminism: not being a sexist doesn’t make you a fighter for feminism.]
Your BF is engaging in a common error of sociological thinking. “I’m not a rapist, I don’t know any rapists, ergo, rape culture is not a problem for anyone anymore.” Which completely overlooks the institutional underpinnings that allow the ism and attending abuse to continue. But society allows rape, even encourages it. It is a societal value in America that women’s sexuality is bad and scary and needs to be controlled-unless she’s around a guy, any guy, in which case, why isn’t the bitch putting out? And it is a societal value that men’s sexuality is important, so important that it needs to be exercised all of the time, regardless of the willingness of the other participant. And the legal system abuses the victim a second time. Until this behavior is as discouraged and as widely derided as evil as murder is, I will not be satisfied that the battle is won. And good for you for fighting the good fight. If you don’t make the effort, he may never get it
the sad part is that i am sure the majority of those bystanders would blame the victim… in this case, a drunken 15 year old girl. because anybody knows a 15 year old girl who somewhat clandestinely drinks alcohol is literally asking to be gang raped. *headdesk*
It’s very hard to call the police while you’re filming the assault on your phone.
Jezebel is a great site that covers horrifying news shit like this and also fashion, hollywood, etc. I suggest checking it out if you haven’t.
Also, I suggest, if you ever see a gang rape, go all Hulk on they ass, or you know, at least call the fucking cops.