Everyday Ethics

Everyday Ethics

Gang Rape after Homecoming: Bystanders Snap Photos

“I bet this is a learning incident.” 

This is a quote from West Contra Costa Unified School District spokesman Marin Trujillo, in regards to the gang rape that occurred on school grounds after a homecoming dance.
I actually felt chilled as I read this account — gang rape of anyone, let alone a teenage girl after her homecoming dance is beyond words. So what words do we use to describe the gang rape of a girl with multiple bystanders watching, snapping photos and not lifting a finger (let alone a cell phone) to help? 
We’ve discussed getting “involved” on this blog quite a bit. I think most of us are similar in the sense that we want to make the right choices in life, both for our own sake as well as for others, but often are unsure when it’s the right time to step in if it doesn’t directly involve us. I couldn’t even bring myself to interject my opinion in a verbal scuffle between a passenger and airport shuttle driver


But this–to know that there were children watching this horror show and doing nothing more than snapping pictures completely blows my mind. It’s possible I’ve lowered my standards, but I wouldn’t even expect anyone to try to stop the brutality — I simply would expect them to call the police
According to KGO-TV in San Francisco, the police were informed only after someone not at the scene overheard people talking about the incident called and reported it. 
As I said, we’ve discussed the question of when to get involved several times here — mostly regarding smaller, seemingly petty incidents. However, it seems to me that questioning these so-called inconsequential interactions prepare us to take a much more important step when the results aren’t so inconsequential, when it truly is a simple matter of right and wrong, black and white. 
At the moment, it doesn’t look like the supposedly “innocent” bystanders will by charged with anything; do you think they should be?

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Fencing Bear

posted October 28, 2009 at 10:40 am

There was a movie about this: Jody Foster in “The Accused” (1988). In the movie, the rapists get off with a hand-slap, so the district attorney goes after the by-standers who egged them on. In the movie, the by-standers are found guilty.

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Hillary Fields

posted October 28, 2009 at 10:54 am

Great post, Paddy. The word I use is “unconscionable.” I want to know more about the details of this case, of course, but my first reaction is to feel a sense of outrage that our teens have seemingly been taught morals so poorly that they would commit and/or fail to feel obliged to act against heinous acts like these. Or, is it perhaps that they feel so alienated from adults that they felt the cops were their enemies? Or feared the revenge of their peers if they took a stand? How awful. In any case, parents need to become more involved, and society as a whole has to cry halt to this madness. And the school has to do better than to say “oh, well, we aren’t involved, we made sure she was safe during the dance itself, which was our sole responsibility.” What are we teaching our kids if we show them all we care about is fear of litigation?
Like Fencing Bear said, there was a Jodi Foster movie called The Accused that was about a woman who got the law changed in her state so that bystanders to rape who egged it on could be charged with a crime as well. I don’t know if it applies to this state or crime. I just hope that the ‘learning incident’ here does indeed bring about some sort of strong shakeup. That girl’s pain is more than anyone should have to bear.

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posted October 28, 2009 at 6:37 pm
I just noticed in the first 7 seconds of this video, the girl who was gang raped by a group of latino men and boys was white. Shouldn’t these men be charged with a hate crime as well as rape?

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posted October 29, 2009 at 6:15 am


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posted October 29, 2009 at 11:48 pm

This is a horrible thing that happened. In my opinion they should all recieve a life sentence. Even that isn’t enough to make up for the pain this poor girl went through. I too agree with Hillary Fields. Thoose bystanders are not inocent. they too diserve a punishment. How could some one just stand there and let this happen. whats worse is that they took pictures. They could have stopped this from happening, but they did what most of our teens do watch.

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posted October 30, 2009 at 4:37 am

So if indeed anyone took pictures or video of this event, couldn’t they be charged with child pornography? But i have herd from many sources that for the most part they can not be charged with anything. It is a shame, I understand the purpose behind laws to protect bystanders by at the same time doesn’t the victim have the right for one of them to be a decent human being.

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posted October 30, 2009 at 8:47 am

they should identify everyone who watched, took pictures and did nothng, line them and the rapists up and shoot them today!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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posted October 30, 2009 at 2:16 pm

Can the bystanders be charged with anything? Well, yes, if they took pictures on their cell phones, that’s probably possession of child porn, and if they transmitted it, it’s certainly purveying child porn.I normally don’t much like those laws, or any other kinds of possessory crimes associated with media content, but this time, I figure those charges couldn’t happen to nicer people.

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posted October 30, 2009 at 3:38 pm

“Failure to render assistance” is, in fact, a crime in some jurisdictions.

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posted November 13, 2009 at 9:34 pm

In my personal opinion, the bystanders are just as bad as the boys who raped her, particularly the ones that took pictures. That is just disgusting, and I agree with Dale. I pray to god that karma of the most potent force comes back to get every single one of those filthy pieces of sh*t!

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posted March 1, 2011 at 1:57 pm

Hello. And Bye.

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