Several comments on my recent article on Serena Williams’ statements about the Stuebenville, OH rape of a 16 year old girl by high school football players ranged from the article belonging more in the supermarket tabloid section, agreeing with Ms. Williams or saying the girl should have avoided the situation. The point of the article was to show the liberal attitude towards excusing crime by being unable to define the nature of the crime.
Well, now it has been reported that over a dozen hazing incidents have been reported around the country involving high school boys who have sodomized other boys with foreign objects. A study published in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence claimed nearly 10% of high school males report suffering some type of sexual assault including in some cases oral sex and rape. Some incidences include:
- Three soccer players sexually assaulting other students with a javelin and broken flagpole;
- A group of members of a wrestling team holding down members who had missed practice and forcing jump rope handles into their anal cavities;
- Three varsity wrestlers bound a 13 year old boy with duct tape on a bus – at the state wrestling meet – and sodomized him with a pencil.
In the last incident which occurred in Norwood, Colorado in 2012, the victim was the son of the principal of the school’s single, all-grade public school. The wrestling coach was the father of two of the attackers. When the principal confronted the wrestling coach, the coach at first denied the incident but later allegedly said, “This happens 1,000 times a day around the U.S.” The principal had to eventually accept a buyout of his contract and move to another Colorado town while the wrestling coach remained employed. The superintendent gave the attackers a one day, in school suspension.
This craze isn’t just sweeping America’s high schools either nor is it confined to hazing or anal violations. At an elementary school in New York City, Public School 194 in Harlem, three male students – two third graders and a fifth grader – forced a third grade boy to perform oral sex on them, according to a disturbing lawsuit. This incident occurred in March 2012. The eight year old victim was standing in a hallway when the three assailants dragged the boy into a bathroom stall; his cries for help went unnoticed.
I call none of these incidents hazing. These incidents are sexual assault and rape; pure and simple. Regardless of the circumstance, rape is a crime of violence and control: perpetrators exert power and use humiliation/intimidation tactics to either induce submission or force their will upon the victim. In simple terms, rape is sexual assault. Not all rape involves beating the victims. Not all rape involves male against female. It is a crime involving mental, physical, emotional and psychological power and control over the victim. It is a crime that also involves objects, not just genitals.
There is a serious breakdown of moral responsibility and morals within America. Sexual assault/rape is now termed “anal hazing” or just plain old “hazing.” Parents defending criminal actions of their children by brushing it off as a common occurrence in America today. Tell that to these victims, their parents and their family. Look into the eyes of an eight year old boy and tell him, “You know, if you had not been there, it wouldn’t have happened” or “just avoid it by not visiting those places.” In the case of the wrestlers who missed practice, look into their eyes and tell them they shouldn’t have missed practice or that wouldn’t have happened to them.
I guess if someone looks hard enough, you can find an excuse for anything, even inexcusable and criminal behavior. Going one further, I guess the argument could be made that young lives shouldn’t be ruined because of a mistake. If that isn’t sufficient, how about the tried and true, well, they’re young and didn’t understand what they were really doing. Following some advice, I guess those victims shouldn’t have gone to school since they put themselves in that position to start with. To anyone who believes or subscribes to any of those previous statements, shame on you.
There is no excuse for the crime of sexual assault/rape and there is no blaming the victim. Every individual has the God-given right to feel safe and secure in their person. Adults condoning this type of behavior, such as the wrestling coach who is the father of two attackers, should be guilty of the moral debasement of children. Children who are accused of sexual crimes, who are old enough to be tried as adults, should be tried as adults. There is a juvenile system in place for children under the age to be tried as adults. Actions have consequences with bad actions having bad consequences.