Posted by: mzbitca | February 14, 2009

Girls sexually assaulted on school bus

Taking a step outside my pop-culture lenses to highlight an article that was in my morning paper yesterday.  According to the article 3 teenage boys have been sexually assaulting the teenage girls on their bus for MONTHS and it was not discovered until it escalated to the point where one girl told her father.  

“Three Portage High School boys used threats and fear to take over the school bus they rode and then spent much of the school year sexually touching girls, using aerosol cans to make blowtorches and doing other horrible acts, police said.

The “pattern of unspeakable depravity” finally ended when a girl came forward after one of the boys tried to push her face into the exposed genitals of another of the boys, said Portage police Cpl. Troy Williams, school resource officer. An investigation showed that girl and two other girls reported the boys touched their breasts on prior occasions.”

I wanted to comment more on the comments left on the site than the actual situation.  I assume that anyone reading this blog realizes how horrible this is and that the girls did absolutely nothing to deserve this.  A lot of the comments left on the website had a tendency to blame the parents, if they just would have spanked their sons, or been better parents they wouldn’t have turned into these “sadistic animals”.  Unfortunately, like in many cases like this,  people are turning these boys into crazed animals when in fact, they are probably normal boys, who have lived in a world where they felt girls bodies were theirs to touch and that as boys, they can get away with a lot more.  I remember high school and there were plenty of boys that were not “sadistic animals” that nonetheless thought it was completely acceptable to grab girls’ asses or make comments on their body and intimidate them if they were alone in the hallway.  I cannot count the number of uncomfortable situations I found myself in while growing up.  There’s a reason I’m not entirely comfortable being alone with a man I don’t know.  

Demonizing these boys does not help anybody.  It ignores the broader social situation that they grew up in, it ignores all of the rape apology that’s in our culture, and blaming it on the parents is also ridiculous.  I love my parents but there were definitely times where their views, colored by news reports and buying into rape culture portrayed the message that some girls “ask for it” and that there are “good girls” and “bad girls”.  How many times does this have to happen before we can stop claiming it’s individual cases and bad parenting and realize there’s something more fucked up about our society in general that helps keep this going.


Responses

  1. [...] Girls sexually assaulted on school bus « What a crazy random … [...]

  2. “Unfortunately, like in many cases like this, people are turning these boys into crazed animals when in fact, they are probably normal boys, who have lived in a world where they felt girls bodies were theirs to touch and that as boys, they can get away with a lot more.”

    – Bang on.

  3. [...] bookmarks tagged acceptable Girls sexually assaulted on school bus saved by 3 others     MelodyxKenny94 bookmarked on 02/14/09 | [...]

  4. Excellent point. I really, really hate how people distance ourselves and society from an act (e.g. Josef Fritzl) and claim that the perpetrator was some sadistic psycho, or blame the devil. Yes, over here in the UK on a daytime TV debate show of sorts, they asked the question of whether the Devil was responsible for terrible things. The way people were willing to blame the acts of Hitler, or even (sadly everyday) street crime on people being posessed made me so angry. How the first thing someone says is ‘he looked so NORMAL!’ as if people who rape or abuse or whatever have a tattoo of their predelictions on their forehead.

    These people, the people who do horrible things aren’t demons. Rarely are they truly sociopaths or absolutely obvious misfits in society who needed help. Normally, they’re just like everyone else: people dealing with the messages society teaches us.

    These boys were wrong, and yes there was probably an element of sadism in that womens’ suffering or embarrassment is sexualised and sold as desirable. But they are not atypical, and they are not being posessed by the devil, nor are their parents likely to be absolute monsters (though a lot of kids are sadly abused).

    By demonising them, whether by pretending that the devil is responsible, or by blaming some evil neglectful parents, or their sexual urges or assuming they’re psychopaths, we as a society try to distance ourselves from the role that we as a society play in shaping these young men. We try to pretend that society teaches men just fine,and that some just mess up because they’re evil, when the truth is it is our teachings making them act this way, not some inherent fault inside them. We as a society are responsible* for the messages they have gotten, and we need to address this, not hide and deflect responsibility.

    *Of course, only the perpetrator is responsible for a crime. We’re responsible for forming an environment where that crime is encouraged, tolerated and then unexamined when discovered.

  5. Yep. This reminds me of how we’re taught in school about the stereotypical insane rapist, hiding behind the bushes in his rumpled clothes, foaming at the mouth, while in fact most sexual assaults are committed by people we already know. No one wants to accept that the popular, handsome, nice football star – or even just a random, nondescript guy who seems nice – can also be a rapist in his spare time.

  6. [...] Girls sexually assaulted on school bus « What a crazy random happenstance "Demonizing these boys does not help anybody. It ignores the broader social situation that they grew up in, it ignores all of the rape apology that’s in our culture, and blaming it on the parents is also ridiculous. I love my parents but there were definitely times where their views, colored by news reports and buying into rape culture portrayed the message that some girls 'ask for it' and that there are 'good girls' and 'bad girls'. How many times does this have to happen before we can stop claiming it’s individual cases and bad parenting and realize there’s something more fucked up about our society in general that helps keep this going." (tags: assault violence society men women abuse feminism) [...]

  7. Now, obviously I’m not saying these girls deserved it. And boys in this society today are granted far more leeway in these situations. Constantly.

    BUT I refuse to feel sorry for them… This went on for MONTHS? When you let these things happen to yourself for months, you’re hurting yourself.

    No one is the victim here.

    • Roo,

      I’m letting your comment stand, not because I agree with it in any way shape or form but because I think it’s a mindset that is too common in our society.

      Yes there are victims and it is these girls. There is a lot of fear, especially in high school, or ratting someone out, even if they are hurting you, these girls were mostly likely terrified of these boys and having to get back on the bus with them again. They couldn’t be sure they would always be safe or maybe they were afraid of retaliation by friends both on the bus or within the school. You don’t have to feel sorry for them but that says more about y ou than it does about the VICTIMS. Anyone who has any experience working with sexual assault victims know that shame and fear keep most of them quiet for a very long time. And responses like yours are perfect examples of why.

  8. The quote “pattern of unspeakable depravity” is, I think, a good example of what you’re saying. It’s not “unspeakable depravity,” really. Depravity, certainly, but it’s not unspeakable. I appreciate that this is a step up from saying, “It’s no big deal, what are they whining about?” but, like you say, it makes the boys sound like complete monsters, like the only person who could do something like this is patently evil, like Hitler-proportion evil (the Holocaust would, I think, qualify as “unspeakable depravity”). And then we can all just write it off as something horrifying that evil people, and not try to change the culture which in many ways condones this behavior.

    Roo, way to blame the victim. Girls who have been sexually assaulted every day couldn’t possibly fear being raped or beat up if they alerted authorities, could they?

  9. Roo, when I was in 3rd grade, there was a boy who made it his life’s mission to beat up on me. I told the teachers. They did nothing, since the boy mostly hit me when the teachers weren’t watching. The principal said the boy probably had a crush on me, and likewise did nothing, aside from telling me to stay w/in sight of the teachers at all times. My parents did nothing, even when this little shit punched me hard in the stomach RIGHT IN FRONT OF THEM. Thanks bunches, Mom and Dad. I think the boy may have suffered some (ridiculously mild) consequences when he pushed me into some cabinets hard enough to leave a bloody dent in my forehead. And was then caught trying to stop me from telling the principal. His family moved away the next summer, which ended things.

    Over the years, I’ve heard and read many similar accounts. Oftentimes the attacks suffered were far worse than my experiences. And were met w/ indifference or even hostility by authority figures. And the abusers, emboldened by this tacit official acceptance, got even worse. So gee…why on earth would a girl be at all reluctant to come forward when she’s being harassed and/or bullied?

  10. Wow, Roo is really an enabler and justifier of predators. Those girls are lucky if they don’t get some kind of retribution. They will at least be under duress for a long time to come.


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