First, a news item:
Police: Gang rape outside school dance lasted over two hours
A California high school student who police said was gang raped in a two-and-a-half-hour assault outside a homecoming dance remained hospitalized in stable condition Monday, two days after she was flown from the attack scene in critical condition.
As of late Monday, two suspects had been arrested in the case and a third was being questioned.
"There is one individual in custody who has made some spontaneous statements that have led me to believe that he is culpable for what happened," Richmond police Lt. Johan Simon said.
Nineteen-year-old Manuel Ortega, described as a former student at the school, was arrested soon after he fled the scene and will face charges of rape, robbery and kidnapping, police said.
A 15-year-old was later arrested and charged with one count of felony sexual assault. A third teenager was being interviewed, according to Lt. Mark Gagan of the police department in Richmond, California.
"Based on witness statements and suspect statements, and also physical evidence, we know that she was raped by at least four suspects committing multiple sex acts," Gagan said.
Investigators said as many as 15 people, all males, stood around watching the assault, but did not call police or help the victim, a 15-year-old student at Richmond High School in suburban San Francisco.
"As people announced over time that this was going on, more people came to see, and some actually participated," Gagan said.
Authorities had interviewed the victim, and the search for other attackers and bystanders who watched and did not report the rape was in "full-court press," according to Gagan.
"We have checked Facebook and YouTube to try to find any revealing evidence," he said. "We're looking in particular to see if anyone posted any video of the incident."
Several other individuals were detained at the scene but not arrested, Simon said.
The attack occurred on school grounds as the annual homecoming dance was under way inside the school Saturday night, authorities said.
The victim was found unconscious and "brutally assaulted" under a bench shortly before midnight Saturday, after police received a call from someone in the area who had overheard people at the assault scene "reminiscing about the incident," Gagan said.
"She ended up with those guys under her own will because she knew one of the boys who had gone to the high school before," Gagan said. "Right now, we're looking at toxicology reports to determine her blood-alcohol content and to determine if she was drugged."
According to authorities, the victim was flown to an area hospital in critical condition. She was in stable condition Monday, police said.
"This just gets worse and worse the more you dig into it," Gagan said. "It was like a horror movie after looking at the evidence. I can't believe not one person felt compelled to help her."
Now we shall have a definition of terms:
Rape culture is a term used within women's studies and feminism, describing a culture in which rape and other sexual violence (usually against women) are common and in which prevalent attitudes, norms, practices, and media condone, normalize, excuse, or encourage sexualized violence.
So what is it, exactly, that gives four teenaged boys the idea that they have title to a woman's body? And what is it, exactly, that makes a group of 15 boys believe that witnessing a brutal gang rape is not something that merits reporting to the police? And what is it that makes us think her blood-alcohol level is relevant in any way?
Up to a point, you can explain away crimes by abhorring the personal depravity of the perpetrators. But where is the treshhold where we have to wonder if there is something toxic in the culture? Are all 19 of these boys -- the four rapists and the fifteen witnesses -- all
It is not just this incident. The arrest of Roman Polanski pulled thousands of rape apologists out of the woodwork. And let's not forget those enlightened Republican Senators who decided that it's OK for companies with military contracts to rape their employees and hide the evidence. (link)
Somewhere around 70-90% of rapes are believed to go unreported, according to the University of Surrey, and 94% of reported cases fail to end in conviction. (link
). To some extent, the low conviction rate can be attributed to the nature of the crime: in a system where the accused is considred innocent until proven guilty, and the evidence for a crime being committed often comes down to the word of the alleged victim against the word of the alleged rapist, rape can be a difficult charge to prove. Rape can look like consensual sex, and surely if murder looked like a handshake it'd have a lower conviction rate. But ninety-four percent
? Surely something fishy is going on here.
So tell me, PA--do we live in a rape culture?