As details finally begin to emerge in the case of the gang-rape of a 15-year-old girl at her homecoming dance in October, it is hard to believe that anyone could stand by and watch something like that happen without acting in some way to stop it. We are not talking about a hurried attack that was over before people knew what was happening, we are talking about a two-hour ordeal where, according to witnesses, the victim was ‘repeatedly kicked in the head as a group of boys took turns raping her.’
It seems almost impossible to believe that during this time not one person felt compelled to assist the girl in any way. I’m not even talking about physically interfering, but going somewhere safe and anonymously calling for help. One witness told the police “I thought she was, like, dead for a minute, but then I saw her moving around and I was like, ‘Oh.’ “
‘Oh.’ Seriously? The fact that people were too afraid to call the police for fear of repercussions says a lot about the state of the world we live in, but nothing that we didn’t already know. Call me old-fashioned, idealistic, whatever, but it is extremely concerning that not one person had a sense of conscience strong enough to realize that the alternative choice was implicitly to condone what was going on by doing nothing to stop it. That the twenty or so people who stood around watching the attack like it was entertainment can get through the day without even a niggle of guilt is a shocking wake-up call as to where our society has ended up.
One of the witnesses said that while he could have stopped the attack, he instead watched for 20 minutes and doesn’t feel accountable for what happened. “I feel like I could have done something but I don’t feel like I have any responsibility for what happened,” the unidentified 16-year-old told ABC.
People feeling too afraid to call the police is a problem that needs to be dealt with by authorities and government, but the responsibility for young people not having the moral strength to overcome that fear lies firmly at the feet of parents and educators. Something has gone horribly wrong in a world that can allow something so revolting to happen and stand by and do nothing.