I have to preface this blog post with this comment.....
I have written this post over many days. Deleting and rewriting many times. It was not going to be my Sunday Shake up. But it's Sunday and I think I'm now ready to post it, and it kinda works.
My post may be controversial. The 'PC crowd' may not like what I'm saying. Some of the questions I ask, comments I make. But I think they are questions that need to be addressed....
These are my own thoughts. As I've said to someone in the past, this is my blog, if you don't like the content, please stop reading. You may or may not agree with what I say but I'm happy for constructive feedback. I love a good discussion where people can learn from each other, but please think about tearing someone down before you write....
I also preface this by saying I am not the mother of teenagers and those years scare me! I worry how my children will act, what they will do, what have I taught them that will get them through these years safely? I have to keep telling myself......there but by the grace of God go I.....
This week, I as many of you in NZ, have been disgusted and outraged at news of a group of monsters (boys) that are going around deliberately intoxicating young girls (as young as 13) then having group sex with them without their consent, then to top it off, they boast about it on video on facebook, naming the girls.
I felt my soul become slowly torn into pieces with each piece of new news that came out about it this week. First one thing, then another, then another. Each piece making me feel more and more sick and hurt by what our world is turning into. So many questions unanswered.
Many times, I sat down to write something. To put my feelings on paper, but it is too big an issue to do it and I worried that I wouldn't get all my thoughts in a line, all in order. That I'd miss something that I really wanted to say or get in trouble for getting the information wrong.
Then this morning I realised that this didn't matter. None of this did. But what does, is what WE do in our own lives. With the people WE influence. Our own children.
I believe none of this would have happened if these kids were taught from birth what is right and wrong. And if they did know this type of behaviour is wrong and did it anyway? Then there would probably be earlier signs that could be detected and dealt with at that time. I think it's as simple as that.
But let's go back a step. Let's look at all the questions I have.....
How do kids learn that this type of behaviour is ok? What are they watching at the movies, on tv, online? What are they listening to? Podcasts? Music?
Why aren't their facebook pages/other social media monitored by their parents and then the parents dealing to it immediately when it is as wrong as this?
How do 13, 14, 15, 16 year old kids have access to alcohol? In this case I hear it is from the parents???
What is a 13, 14, 15, 16 year old doing out at a 'boozing' party? (yes, I'm probably out of reality with what goes on in todays world, but does that make it right? The legal age of drinking in NZ is 18!).
Where were the friends of the girls? What did they do to help their friend?
What do the boys think sex is all about?
What do they think is acceptable sexual practise?
Why do they think it is ok to brag on social media about what you have done?
Where has our '0' tolerance for bullying (bragging on facebook is bullying!) gone (let alone the rest of the acts).
Why did the police tell us that noone had come forward when 1 had laid a formal complaint and 3 others had told the police what was going on?
What happened over the next 2-3 years since that time when the complaints were laid and nothing was done? How many other girls were victimised in the same way during this time?
If the laws prevented them from doing anything, why? What do we need to do to protect girls from this?
Why were the girls questioned about what they drank, what they wore? How is this relevant to a group of boys having non consentual sex with them? Raping them. This is totally unacceptable.
This brings me to another point, related, but a different case....clothing choice was also in question when some tourists were assaulted in Albert Park in the past. They were told by the judge that what they were wearing was too skimpy. So? This does not invite assault/rape. Don't get me wrong, I talk to my own daughter about what she wears, what is and isn't appropriate. BUT, whatever our thoughts on clothing choices, it is NOT an invitation to be raped, or treated in a different way. The judge in the tourists case was wrong! He should not have said anything to this nature, and this is my point.....if we have people at the 'top' of the ladder of who we look up to with these thoughts in mind, it brings about a culture of blaming the girls. It's not ok. It's not their fault. No choice of theirs no matter how wrong should be seem to blame them for an act against them. Blame the boys/men who did it.
In short....why is is permissable to semi blame the girls because of what they were wearing?
And yet, why isn't anyone asking what a 13 year old girl was doing out at a party like that?
What has the policeman whose son is involved, doing about his son? What was his punishment? How is he dealing with this very serious situation? I want to know what is happening as my faith in the police when faced with a man who lets his son get away with something like this diminishes (please don't get me wrong, I think the police are an amazing force and not all of them are bad, most of them are incredibly hard working, amazing men and women doing things I couldn't bear to think about let alone do), BUT, and it's a big but, my faith in them is lost if they are the ones we are meant to look up to and their own children are allowed to do this kind of thing without consequences.
Why is it that so many people think they have a right to do what they want, good, bad or indifferent, without their being consequences? Just look at the mayor in Canada caught smoking crack cocaine and he refuses to step down. He has not only just done wrong, but broken the law and he thinks he should stay in power? Where has this thinking come from? This sense of entitlement? Why is he allowed to do that? WTF???????
And if we have people like this in power, is it any wonder the boys involved in this case are doing what they want? Hey, he can get away with doing what he wants, why shouldn't we?
If you are asking questions like this, or similar, and want to know what you can do? Let's go back to my earlier idea that it comes back to parenting, to teaching kids what is right and wrong. It comes back to having good role models (be it a parent, older sibling, aunt/uncle, grandparent, coach, scout leader, church leader). It comes back to having morals (and where have they gone in this PC, permissable world?). It comes back to doing something little in our own lives. Take a look at this:
It's called "The conversation you must have with your sons" in the Huffington Post. Written by Karina Colodny. Take a read.
When all this was happening, I became quite morose. What is the point? I do this and that to be helpful in this world, but I am just one person. I am nothing. What is the point of doing what I do when things like this happen.
I had to remind myself of a letter I received from a mother of one of the kids I make cakes from. Thanking me for what I had done and what a difference it made in their lives. Yes, I am only one person. But if I can make one person smile, one person think they are special, one person remember that someone cared for them, then that IS ENOUGH!
And so I urge you to be that someone to do something about it. I urge you to listen to your inner voice and to send an email, write a letter, talk to your sons, I urge you to be the one who listens to your inner voice saying 'this is wrong', who stops listening to other people telling them not to get involved, but stops what they are doing and takes a stance.
This morning is a new day. It is a clean slate, and I dare you to make a difference.