It’s enough to make you shake your head. Or your fist.
We’ve all heard this week about the five teens calling themselves the “Charlie Rape Gang.” Members of the “gang” briefly were suspended from Lakeside Middle School recently after complaints, and social media postings, that they had been corralling unsuspecting fellow students, holding them down and pretending to “rape” them.
Ha, ha. Really funny.
Juvenile behavior is to be expected occasionally from juveniles, and as the saying goes, boys will be boys. But such outrageous, stunningly boorish behavior goes far beyond mere teen hijinks.
It should go without saying – but evidently doesn’t – that rape is nothing to joke about. In spite of the fact that rapes are a vastly under-reported crime, there still were 19 women in Columbia County last year who reported being raped, according to 2011 crime statistics from the Columbia County Sheriff’s Office.
Really raped, as in sexually assaulted. As in held against their will, with sexual violence forced on them.
The five (as far as authorities know) members of the “Charlie Rape Gang” apparently found some sort of sick humor in surrounding fellow students and “dry humping” them. Sure, they would stop (eventually) and run away when the startled victims told them to, though that hardly mitigates the shock from such bullying behavior.
But back to those 19 women in Columbia County who reported being raped last year: Alarmingly, that’s 10 more than reported sexual assault the previous year, the sheriff’s office says. Either that jump is a statistical anomaly, or rape is becoming more prevalent.
The latter might very well be the case, especially if teen boys are starting to think it’s OK to make jokes about sexual assault to the point that they pretend to force it on their peers.
Based on the information it had at the time, school officials suspended the little bullies. With more victims coming forward, the sheriff’s office now is investigating criminal charges. But none of that precludes the parents from lowering the boom on these boys at home.
Those parents should not only review their sons’ choices of friends, but they also should take the opportunity to thoroughly revisit the swill their teens might be chugging from decadent pop culture.
If the parents really want to be proactive, they could contact Rape Crisis and Sexual Assault Services about counseling and volunteer opportunities. Anne Ealick-Henry, the agency’s director, says she’s open to discussing it, and notes they already provide curriculum to some area schools.
Whether these boys learn through volunteering, or the hard way by being incarcerated, this “gang” certainly needs to gain an understanding that what they’re doing just isn’t funny.