Sunday, April 12, 2015

XXVI

On a beach in Florida during spring break, a 19-year-old girl was not only attacked and assaulted, she was gang-raped in public. The worst thing to me is that no one did anything: that they were totally indifferent and wrapped up in their own selves that they did not even think to help this girl who was being brutally victimized. It physically hurt and made me sick to think about what she went through and how someone could have helped but didn't. This isn't even half of the worst part, however: the attack was filmed. "Bay County Sheriff Frank McKeithen called the video "probably one of the most disgusting, repulsive, sickening things that I have seen this year on Panama City Beach, and I have seen a lot of them,"" says the article, which you can read in full here.

The video that was found was not even one of the first of its kind. It was found during an unrelated investigation, miles away, in Alabama and had to be sent to Florida from there. I can't imagine being the victim of such a brutal assault in such a public place and feeling the crushing desolation and abandonment, that no one came to her aid in a time she needed it. It disgusts me that it was filmed, and that no one even thought to call the police or jump in and help. It goes against basic human decency, that we would abandon someone who is clearly in trouble and need of aid. You wouldn't ignore someone who is drowning or having a heart attack, so why did no one come to the aid of this girl? The assault happened over a month ago, and while the disgusting human beings that did this were charged, the deep psychological and physical injuries inflicted upon the victim will probably affect her for the rest of her life. 

In one of my favorite movies, there is a scene in which a priest is giving a homily at a Catholic Sunday Mass. He relayed a story, similar to this one, about a girl that was attacked in broad daylight, while people looked on, heard and saw the attack, and still did nothing. The priest went onto say that while there are several evils in the world, the one that we should fear most is the indifference of good men. This is a statement with which I strongly agree: one that was echoed in the article I read today online.

I couldn't believe this story when I first read through it. I've often been told by quite a few people that I am sensitive and wear my emotions clearly for all to see. For a long time I've felt that sensitivity was a bad thing, that it made me weak and vulnerable. But reading about this unspeakable attack on a young girl, who was about the same age I was when Theo abused me really got to me. When I read the comment feed below the article I was shocked to see so many people validating the indifference of the people on the beach, watching this girl be victimized, standing by because they were afraid of being arrested. Several comments echoed the fear of being arrested: like it was not worth it to help someone so clearly defenseless, so clearly abused. I hate hearing about the level of sexual violence that runs rampant in our society, the number of men that think it's okay to take advantage of women, but it's these articles that only make me more passionate about fighting for the voiceless, the victims of sexual abuse and violence.

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