It's hard to believe, but another young girl whose alleged sexual assault went viral has committed suicide. Audrie Pott of California was just 15 years old when she hanged herself, allegedly after three boys sexually assaulted her, took photos, and spread them around her class.
Her Facebook page is a testament to her pain saying that her life is ruined and that she is having the worst day ever, etc. And then she killed herself. The girl's family says they not only want the boys tried as adults for the assault, but they also want to see them tried for murder.
Though it sounds like the lawyers for the boys are trying to say the whole story isn't being reported and maybe that is true, it's also true that this is the THIRD case where boys have been accused of assaulting a young girl and then used social media to destroy her reputation. First it happened in Steubenville. Then Rehtaeh Parsons. And now this. What are we going to change so this stops happening?
If these boys are tried as adults and tried for murder, might that change things?
I have been a teenage girl, but I was one far before the Internet took hold in the way it has. AOL chat rooms were about the craziest it got at the time. I can't even imagine the pressure these girls are under and the sick, sick, sick boys who spread these photos. It hasn't just happened once, either. One time, MAYBE I could give it a "pass" or at least excused it as isolated, depraved boys. But this is an epidemic. It's happening again and again and again.
Something has to change, and if that means that teenage boys are charged as adults, then so be it. If you distribute photos that cause an already depressed girl to go over the edge, then yes, you are at fault if she kills herself. Period. End of story.
According to NBC, Pott was at a sleepover, got tired after drinking a bit, and went up to sleep. These boys she considered friends are accused of following her, assaulting her, and taking photos of their assault. Later, they apparently destroyed the evidence as a means of covering their tracks.
The damage had been done and the poor girl couldn't live that way. As a mom of both a boy and a girl, I have compassion for teen boys and teen girls. But they aren't allowed to touch one another without consent. They aren't allowed to take photos and distribute them to their classmates. These boys need to be taught that this is wrong and that it hurts people on a fundamental level.
It shouldn't take a suicide to teach these boys that rape is wrong. But maybe it will. Personally, I'd love to see them tried as adults and tried for murder. We don't take these kinds of assaults seriously enough in this country. But we should. Our teenage girls' lives depend on it.
Do you think these boys should be charged with murder?
Image via aussiegall/Flickr