I wish I could say this was an unimaginable crime. But it’s real.
Five – out of as many as 10 – young men between the ages of 15 and 19 could appear in a Richmond, Calif. court as early as today after allegedly gang-raping a 15-year-old girl at a homecoming dance for more than two hours last weekend. The victim was apparently beaten, robbed and raped in a secluded area while the dance went on nearby.
That’s bad enough. This young girl’s life has been hijacked, violated and changed forever because of the violent, sick actions of a group of boys. But the story doesn’t stop there. Apparently as many as 20 other students stood by, watched, cheered and even took pictures as the girl was raped.
Watched. Cheered. Took pictures.
As a 15-year-old girl was beaten and raped.
No one called for help.
How does this happen? How can it be that no one in the crowd felt uncomfortable witnessing such brutality? How can it be that no one slipped away to find a teacher, tell a security guard, or call 911?
The boys – I hesitate to call them men, even though they are so far being charged as adults – will be dealt with. Five are in custody, more are being investigated, and authorities are offering a $20,000 reward for information leading to the conviction of any of the assailants, according to the San Francisco Chronicle. If convicted, some could spend life in prison. That might be enough time for them to regret their actions.
But the bystanders cannot be held responsible. In California it’s a crime to not report a sex crime happening to a child 14 and younger, but this victim is 15. There’s no recourse.