In Chicago, three teenage boys have been accused of raping a 12-year-girl at gunpoint. The rape was videotaped then posted on the Facebook pages of all three boys accused. While there is, of course, a gun issue here, I will focus on the rape of a child.
16-year-old Justin Applewhite, 16-year-old Scandale Fritz and 15-year-old Kenneth Brown have all been charged, as adults, with criminal sexual assault. The teenagers are being held in lieu of $900,000 bail.
On December 15, 2012 the young girl reportedly went to Fritz’s house to talk to him. He brought her down into the basement and raped her after she refused to have sex with him. Fritz then allegedly had the other two boys come down to the basement. He used a gun to threaten the girl and all three boys took turns raping, sodomizing and forcing the girl to perform sex on them. As the crimes were taking place, Fritz videotaped the assaults. Each boy is seen on the video violating the 12-year-old girl.
Fritz has confessed to taping the crimes. Given that he turned the camera on himself while taping he crimes, his confession is pretty much a no-brainer, however, it will also serve as evidence to convict him of the crimes.
The day after the attack, the girl told someone and a report was made. She was treated and examined at a hospital. Then next day the video was posted on Brown’s Facebook page and later showed up on the Facebook pages of the other two boys involved.
Two of the boys have prior criminal records. All three male teenagers are due back in court June 6.
Great care, concern, and support must be given to the victims of rape. According to author, Jackson Katz, at a recent TED Talk, great attention must also be placed on the boys and men who are committing these crimes every hour – of every day – around the world.
Juvenile rape is all too common. Reported cases are growing in numbers, given that evidence is so easily accessed via camera phones and social media sites. Earlier this year there were several highly publicized cases of rape against young girls where the boys taped the assaults. One case was in Steubenville, Ohio, where a young girl was raped/sexually assaulted by two boys, and videotaped while she was reportedly unconscious. The boys have since been tried, found guilty, and placed in a juvenile correctional institution. Another rape that received great media attention was in Canada. Rahtaeh Parsons was raped, videotaped, posted, then scorned by classmates for two years before finally, in desperation, she committed suicide. In both cases, the truth-seeking hactivist group, Anonymous, became involved to ‘kick start’ the judicial systems into taking action where there had been little prior.
A worldwide campaign called Unite Against Rape has been launched by women’s rights group, UniteWomen.org. The purpose of the campaign is to support rape victims/survivors, as well as bring the discussion of our current rape culture into the forefront of media attention and public discourse. You can get more information about the campaign on the UniteWomen.org Facebook Page.
Social media is playing more and more of a part of bringing these violent and disgusting crimes to light, as well as convictions. Rape/sexual assaults take place every day. Most are never reported. Many that are reported are never taken to court and very few rapists ever serve time. With a videotape, the proof is indisputable. I’m glad teenagers are taping their crimes. Their stupidity has led to many arrests and will ultimately lead to many convictions, which will serve as examples to others who may be contemplating such crimes.
If you’ve been raped/sexually assaulted:
Please contact: RAINN National Rape, Abuse, & Incest - Call Their Phone Hotline: 1.800.656.HOPE or use the RAINN Online Hotline. It’s never too late to report sexual assault. You are not alone.
(The author, Leslie Salzillo, is a rape survivor, activist, political commentator, and visual artist. Salzillo often writes diaries in Daily Kos, and began contributing to AddictingInfo.org in March 2013).