This has been an incredibly depressing month for women’s rights; not one, but two gang-rapes of young girls have made their way into the news. According to ABC news, eight teen boys in Moreno Valley, California have been accused of luring a middle-school girl from a shopping mall and brutally raping her in the men’s room of a park nearby.
Police say that all of the teens were part of a local gang, and they have speculated that the rape may be part of an initiation rite. Apparently an older girl was used to lure the young girl to the park, and she may also be charged with abetting the crime. Strikingly, the victim herself returned to the mall afteward and came forward to police to report the crime. Most of the boys were arrested soon thereafter.
This case seems a little different from other recent cases – the event does not seem to have been photographed. More disturbingly, only one of the suspects in this case is over the age of 18. The oldest teen, Michael Sykes, was located and arrested most recently. One surprising element, according to police, is that the girl appears to have been an innocent victim, chosen randomly.
“It appears they were looking for a victim and lured her back to the waiting males,” a police officer said. “I don’t know about motivation. I just want to say that it looks like that gang lifestyle and gang activity.”
It seems, though, that people are reacting to the case with damaging negative rhetoric about gang violence. The city’s mayor said, “The resources are out there, this isn’t a crime wave. Gang members are uncivilized people. They don’t seem to have respect for human beings … The fact that anyone could consider this behavior something a gang would be proud of, is beyond me.”
This certainly isn’t the way to respond, even to such a horrific crime, and displays prejudice and judgment about gang members’ motives (if this is, in fact, a gang-related crime). The investigation is still unfolding, and we’ll keep you posted as we get more information about this horrible case.
Photo from Flickr.