A bizarre story surfaced this week which has me wrestling with a wide variety of reactions. It’s the story of a boy with a twisted yet unique excuse for doing something unthinkable.
A 13-year old boy from Rio Arriba County in New Mexico, whose name is not being released at this time, confessed to officials that he had inappropriately touched and raped a 7-year old girl in his family. His defense? He claims that he was teased and bullied unmercifully on a regular basis for being a virgin. He claims that he raped his relative, I assume his sister, due to intense peer pressure from these bullies.
Sheriff Thomas Rodella of the Rio Arriba County Sheriff’s Department has taken some criticism for his apparent sympathy for the rapist, even saying, “This case is all about bullying, and because of the bullying, now we have two victims.”
Statistics do show that frequently bullies were once victims of bullying themselves, who engage in bullying in an effort to regain some control over their own lives. Our nation has seen a dramatic increase in teen suicides which have been attributed to the deep despair and depression which can result from being subjected to unrelenting bullying, and we have watched in agony as schools have been held hostage by bullied victims out for revenge. These events have been tragic and horrific and have opened our nation’s eyes to the seriousness of bullying and its potential repercussions.
But my gut reaction to this story is one of grave concern that children will now use bullying as an excuse for sexually deviant behavior. At the age of 13, children know the difference between right and wrong. They understand that forcing young children to have sex is morally despicable. It is beyond my scope of reasoning to accept this deplorable act as excusable because of peer pressure over still being a virgin. At the age of 13, aren’t most kids still virgins? I don’t believe my head is so far in the sand that I missed that 13 was the official age of sexual maturity.
Apparently, this boy never told anyone at the school that this constant “brutal teasing and bullying” was taking place. I find it a little suspicious that no one knew before yet he is freely talking about it now.
I have reported on, and read about so many terrible incidents of bullying over the years. If you have followed my blogs, you know that I am extremely sympathetic to victims of bullying. And maybe I am wrong not to be more sympathetic to this boy’s situation. But it all feels a little too contrived for me.
Is this a boy who was so victimized and made to feel so marginalized that he would do the unspeakable to get these alleged bullies off his back, or is he instead a clever boy with sexually deviant tendencies who hit upon a great get-out-of-jail-free-card? Only someone who knows him well can say for sure.
In the meantime, he is currently awaiting his fate in a detention center in Santa Fe County. A hearing must be held by Tuesday to decide whether he should stay in the detention center or return home. He faces two counts of criminal sexual contact and one count of sexual penetration of a minor.
And what of the little girl? In the video from HLN, Prime News, she is mentioned very briefly. At one point, Rodella stated, “She is doing as well as can be expected given the situation.” The rest of the video is all about the rapist.
Does anyone else think this is a little skewed? Should our real sympathies lie with this poor, innocent girl, whose life is forever changed, or for this boy, who subjected a relative to sexual torture? Whose reasons, by the way, are despicable whether they were to prove to his peers he was a man, or whether to satisfy his own sick desire. If this was a matter of peer pressure, I am horrified! Don’t we teach our children not to give in to peer pressure? Now we are going to allow a child to use peer pressure as an excuse for rape? Outrageous!
I am left feeling sickened by this story, and by the thought of giving any credence to this boy’s motivation for what was, no matter what his reasons, a terrible, appalling violation of a young and innocent, little girl.