Sunday, November 1, 2009

No Means No: A Rape in California After the Homecoming Dance: What Can We Learn from this Crime?

Rape is primarily a crime against women. Rape is never ok. Rape is one person holding power against another person. Rape is a crime. Rape is a sin. Those guilty of committing rape should be punished to the fullest extent of the law, even on the 1st occasion, even if watching and not getting help for the victim.
There was a horrendous rape in Richmond, California last week against a young girl who was only 15 years old. Yesterday, her family's Pastor said: "Stop the violence! Please do not respond to this tragic event by promoting hatred or by causing more pain. We've had enough violence already in this place." Her parents added, "If you need to express your outrage, please channel your anger through positive action..Work toward changing the atmosphere in our schools and in this community so that this kind of thing never happens again."
I've been thinking about writing a blog about what happened to this young girl. One of my anonymous commenters has been harassing me to write about it because there were some young Latinos involved. I guess he didn't read that there were several perps of various races/ethnicities, including white, black, latino, middle eastern that have been arrested. I'm not writing this blog because of anon's request. I am writing it to support the victim, a young, naive and open-hearted girl and her parents wishes. Several in depth articles have come out.

Summary: Rape, Richmond California, October 24, 2009
On the night of the attack, the young victim left the homecoming dance before it ended (about 9:30 p.m) and walked to the back of campus to call her father to pick her up. A young friend, Cody Ray Smith (15) invited her into the notorious courtyard. The courtyard is notorious for being an unlighted area in the back of the school grounds where young boys and men gather to drink, smoke and spin tales.

In the courtyard, a group of about a dozen boys and young men were already well into 2 gallons of vodka. After they liquored up the girl with brandy, they proposed sex, according to several accounts by friends of those who were there but asked not to be named for fear of retaliation. The girl said NO. Some of the men placed her on one of the two red cement benches set alongside the main brick building of the school and said they were going to have sex anyway, according to the accounts.

"They had her down on the bench and the bitch tried to kick 'Tweak' (one of the men) in the nuts," said one young man, who said he had a first-hand account of the attack from Smith but was afraid of being named. "He went off on her, started hitting her, and then it was on. They pulled a train (a gang initiation-style rape, one after the other) on her."

What ensued was 2 1/2 hours of beatings and raping, at times with a foreign object. The scene attracted onlookers, some calling others over by cell phone, and eventually there were as many as 10 men or boys sexually assaulting the girl while another 20 looked on, laughing and snapping pictures. Teachers and students were searching last week for at least one video that many said was filmed of the attack.

The rape finally stopped, around midnight (A 2 1/2 hour rape from 9:30 - midnight), after students at a house down the block heard of what was going on and called police. The girl was found, semiconscious, beneath a picnic table.

"Her face was purple and blue and she wasn't moving when they finished and ran," said Eraclio Lopez, 23, who lives nearby and ran over when the police cars rolled up. "I guess those kids thought what they did was tight, was cool. But it was terrible." The girl was released from a hospital Wednesday, but her recovery has only begun, police Lt. Mark Gagan said.

"This was a barbaric crime, and I find it hard to wrap my head around the fact that so many watched and didn't report it," Gagan said. "That poor girl will have a lot of healing to do."

This was not the first time the churchgoing sophomore had hung out with the wrong crowd, said one educator who asked not to be named for fear of offending school district sensitivities. That has caused anguish for not just her but the advisers who helped her over the past couple of years,

"She really is a smart girl, but it's not always easy to fit in," the educator said. "I think she can be a little naive, and she's been harassed by guys in the past who took advantage of her when she tried a little too hard."

From Cody Smith's my space comments: "Freee mah nigga ... F- dem snitches," reads one of the more prominent comments posted by a friend. Arrested: San Pablo residents Cody Ray Smith, 15, and Ari Abdallah Morales, 16; Pinole resident Marcelles James Peter, 17; and Richmond resident Manuel Ortega, 19 were arraigned in court on Thursday.

Teachers, who asked not be named because of district confidentiality rules, said Smith and the other two juvenile defendants charged as adults have had tough times academically. Ari Abdallah Morales, 16, of San Pablo and Marcelles James Peter, 17, of Pinole were transferred out of Richmond High to continuation high schools. Although Peter has a shelf of city league soccer trophies, he and the others are mediocre pupils at best, sources said.

The fourth suspect arraigned in the case, 19-year-old Manuel Ortega, ran away from home and dropped out of school after his junior year, sources said. He was a disruptive student who once threw a flaming ball of paper at a teacher.

"The younger ones - they mostly just watched, and they are the ones talking and giving up names," said one source familiar with the investigation who asked not to be named, because the Police Department has ordered its investigators to keep a tight lid on information. "This was not a gang thing. It was just a mob that got out of control. It was the older ones who led it all."
There were a lot of people to lead.


Readers, I ask you:
1. What Lessons do we learn from this crime?
2. What can we do to ensure crimes like this never happen again?
3. Are those who watched and either cheered or did nothing, are they accountable too?
4. What lessons can women/victims learn from this crime?

This crime reminded me a little of the movie "The Accused." While in the movie, the victim bears some responsibility, this young 15 year old victim holds none. I am showing you this clip to illustrate how the mob mentality may have occurred in this rape. In the movie, the watchers/instigators were convicted.
In last weekend's rape, the police are saying there are up to 25 more suspects. Could they have been the instigators too? WARNING TO VIEWERS: Here is the clip, but viewers who are sensitive or with weak-stomachs should NOT view it. THE ACCUSED - RAPE Scene.
References:
Richmond gang rape seen as nearly inevitable
Parents of California teen raped at school: Stop the violence

Richmond High School Gang-Rape in California: Others Watched and Did Nothing, Say Cops

10 comments:

Dee said...

This article provides some very good suggestions for pro-active safety measures to help stop these types of rapes/crimes:
1. Well lighted areas on school grounds
2. Security Guards aware of these types of areas.
3. Anonymous tips hotlines: So that anonymous tips can be sent in and callers won't fear retaliation.
4. Community meetings to discuss actions to help

http://www.cnn.com/2009/OPINION/
11/02
/astor.gang.violence/index.html

I Travel for JOOLS said...

I agree the safety measures proposed are good, but it's all a one place, one time fix. It's not a fix for the societal ills that plague people in places like this. The attackers and people who watched do not have morals or values. They have no respect for humanity. One parent families, if that. Schools and teachers with all authority stripped away from them thanks to the ACLU and an ever permissive society. And, I don't buy that poverty breeds violence. Dee's family knows poverty. My family knows poverty. We didn't become violent because of it.

It didn't use to be this way. It wasn't allowed. It wasn't tolerated. And, thankfully, in my neighborhood it still isn't, but I'm holding my breath.

Dee said...

Jools,
I agree that the attackers and the watchers have no morals. This was a vicious, vicious crime.

However, this type of thing has happened before and is not a new occurence. The vicious rape in the movie "the Accused" was a true story. The vicious rape that happened Iraq to Jamie is also true. I've heard the date rape drug is used for many rapes that go unreported.

I wish I could wave a magic wand and make all of these terroristic crimes against women/people go away.

Proletariat Defender said...

Well, apparently, Richmond is really turning into a cesspit:

http://ca-richmond.civicplus.com/archives/72/Part1Jul09.pdf
Info from August report:
Crime July 2008-2009

YTD2008 YTD2009 %Change July2008 July2009 %Change

HOMICIDE* 20 30 +500% 4 10 +150%
RAPE* 23 22 -4% 4 1 -75%
ROBBERY* 285 289 +1% 51 50 -1%
AGG/ASSLT* 230 224 -3% 30 36 +80%
BURGLARY* 705 806 +14% 106 103 -2%
AUTO BURGLARY** 319 261 -58% 37 26 -30%
AUTO THEFT 1,154 907 -21% 126 115 -9%
THEFT* 837 800 -4% 128 103 -20%
ARSON* 23 27 +17% 4 4 N/C
City Total 3,596 3,366 -6% 490 448 -9%
Adult Arrests 1896 1615 -15% 280 222 -21%
Juvenile Arrests 176 228 +30% 18 32 +78%
Total Arrests 2072 1843 -11% 298 254 -15%

Proletariat Defender said...

I believe this was an attack perpetrated by "urban culture" more than any ethnic group.

Is it any surprised that crime in cities is rising? Is it any surprise that people are fleeing to the suburbs?

Less than 50 years ago, the majority of people lived in the country and small towns. Starting in the 60's or so the population really shifted from the country and small towns into the major urban centers.

It's no coincidence that in the same time period crime has risen at the same rate as this population shift.

Dee said...

Proletariat,
I almost agree with you.
This attack was not perpetrated by one culture but by group think.

Drink/Drugs/Testosterone contributed to this group think.

pcorn54 said...

More news coming out about this attack, that in no way justifies it though.

1. The girl knew some of her attackers and left the event with one of them. The "waiting for her daddy" angle was untrue.

2. She willingly went to the location and was drinking and partying was some of the group when things got out of hand.

3. She was dressed, shall we say, provocatively.

Again, no excuses, only what was reported on Fox News "Across the Board" on Sunday

Dee said...

PCorn,
I agree there is no excuse for rape or the viciousness of this crime.

I strongly believe in women's rights and she has every right to say no at any time.

It is good that we do have all the information so we can identify any lessons we can learn from this.

ultima said...

I was happy to see that you were able to post this item even though some Hispanics were involved. It helps us to remember that heinous crmes have no color. Crimes are perpetrated and encouraged by those who have no moral upbringing or who yield too readily to the herd mentality. Why wasn't there at least one who manned up and made an emergency call to help this poor girl.

The clip as a proxy for the real event was enough to turn one's stomach. It's hard to imagine how anyone short of a cave man could possibly do or countenance such a terrible crime. I believe these criminals deserve life imprisonment and the onlookers need some form of punishment too. Perhaps they should be required to watch the clip ten times with their parents present.

ultima said...

Teenager Vargas made the 911 call when the word got out in her neighborhood. She wasn't even at the scene but felt compelled to call of assistance for the poor victim who by that time was unconscious and alone near a dumpster.

Kudos to Vargas for have the moral fiber to make this call.

It used to be that kids had a little better idea of the dangers that await them when they don't take care for their own safety.

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