We've been hearing the word hazing thrown around a lot more in the last few years as more parents stick up for their kids and take their battles to the public forum. But there's something wrong with calling the horrors that allegedly happened to innocent young boys on the soccer team at Maine West High School in Illinois a form of hazing. That term is too innocent, not indicative of the depravity of what happens when children are sexually assaulted.
Children. Sexually assaulted. Sodomized, in fact. And this is hazing? I don't believe so.
The only word that comes to my mind is rape.
The hazing complaint lodged in a civil suit by an unidentified mother (her anonymity protects her son's identity) claims that her 14-year-old and two other boys were shoved to the ground during soccer practice on school grounds. First, they were beaten. Then, while older boys held them down, the boys' pants and underwear were pulled down, and they were sodomized by their teammates.
A sexual act done to a child (well, to anyone really) without their permission? This goes beyond the fun and games that the word "hazing" still connotes. It's a violation.
It's, well, it's rape. What else could it be? According to the juvenile courts, which levied charges, it's hazing and it's battery -- that's all the kids were charged with.
I'm troubled, of course, that coaches are allegedly aware of what's going on and that this is a practice the complaint claims is done year after year at Maine West.
But I'm perhaps more troubled that kids would carry it out. That, in the name of tradition, they would sexually violate another human being. That these "kids" would, in effect, become monsters.
I'm hoping that if all the evidence comes out and these allegations are true that this family is successful in their suit. But even more, I hope this forces the courts to re-examine this case, to do something more befitting the monstrous acts perpetrated upon some innocent children.
What do you think should be done here?
Image via shawnzrossi/Flickr