Nearly a tenth of boys in juvenile halls and group homes are sexually abused by their female guards, says a depressing new study out of the Justice Department. How just truly awful is that? As if these kids aren't messed up enough.
Here you have juveniles, who have most likely already had crappy lives, locked away for doing bad things, and instead of getting rehabilitated and back on their feet to, ideally, become productive, happy members of society, they're getting even more f-ed up. And don't give me that, "Oh they're guys; they probably love it" BS either. When you hear WHY these boys are often susceptible to this kind of abuse, it'll make you want to cry.
As the leader of the nonprofit Just Detention International explains it, young teenage boys in this situation can easily fall victim to a female guard taking advantage of her powerful position -- and manipulating boys with attention, favors, and gifts -- because many of these kids have never experienced an actual, real maternal bond in their lives.
Yes, that's right. It's easy to manipulate them because they are starved for affection.
I can't even.
As if our justice system wasn't bad enough. What chance do kids have, when they come from horrible homes, to find their way forward to a healthy life when they're preyed upon by the people who are supposed to be helping set them on a better path?
According to the report, over 20 percent of kids in juvenile centers involved in abusive sexual relationships with guards were given alcohol or drugs in exchange for sex. A large percentage of the rest of these young people are given gifts and special attention, which is why the "relationships" that evolve often don't even seem "wrong" to the boys. They don't even realize that what's happening is unhealthy, and they're completely missing out on their chances to develop positive, rehabilitating relationships with adults. In a life that's probably been devoid of positive role models, and filled with trauma, all they're getting is more bad role models and more trauma.
Now that is truly a crime.
Does this news surprise you?
Image via derekskey/Flickr