Whatever comes to mind: Boys deserve harsher punishments for rape

Whatever Comes To MindBy George Flynn | Opinions Editor

A year ago, I had a friend who dealt with issues involving sexual assault of a friend. After discovering this information, I had a discussion with a mutual friend about the incident. My first response was to retort, “That sort of thing never happens.” He immediately corrected me and said, “No, the awful thing is that this type of thing always happens.”

In recent events, Al Jazeera America published an article entitled “US teen sex attackers get weeks in detention.” The article discussed the suicide of a 15-year-old girl from Northern California. She committed suicide following her rape by three of her classmates, two 16-year-olds and one 17-year-old. Their names have not been revealed to the public because they were prosecuted in juvenile court. Along with being raped, she became even more exposed when the young men sent around pornographic images of her.

The teenage girl, Audrie Pott, “had gone to a party eight days beforehand, drank alcohol and fallen asleep.” After she fell asleep, the nightmare ensued. “She woke up without her shorts on and with ‘mocking words’ written in several places on her body.”

Eight days after the events occurred she hanged herself.

As the headline reveals the punishment of these boys, it is obvious that the punishment does not seem nearly as harsh as it should.

According to the article, the three boys “have been sentenced to between 30 and 45 days in a juvenile detention centre.”

Whether they received a mild sentence due to being underage or for other reasons, this situation seems incredibly absurd for a plethora of reasons. This case can easily remind us all of the Steubenville, Ohio rape case from last year.

According to a CNN article by Steven Almasy entitled “Two teens found guilty in Steubenville rape case,” the two teens in question were given intense punishments in comparison to the punishments the three teenage boys received concerning the rape of Pott.

According to the CNN article, “[Trent] Mays was sentenced to a minimum of two years in a juvenile correctional facility. [Ma’lik] Richmond was sentenced to a minimum of one year, but like Mays, he could be in detention until he is 21.”

With the Steubenville rape case, both of the boys were minors as Mays was 17 and Richmond was 16. According to Al Jazeera America, the three rapists in the most recent case were 16 and 17. Unfortunately, the three boys in Pott’s case were given punishments that were less harsh in comparison to the Steubenville case.

Whether or not the charges will increase for these boys, it seems that the current charges are not enough for these three vile teenage boys. These boys raped and lead a girl to commit suicide. The three young men should receive similar punishments to the boys charged in the Steubenville case.

Although these boys are underage, hopefully they serve time for the life and innocence they stole from Audrie Pott.

According to Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), 97 percent of rapists never spend a day in prison. Maybe these boys will fall into the 3 percent and will be a lesson to the rest of the world.

This situation is terrifying and it happens too often. According to RAINN, someone in the world is sexually assaulted every two minutes, which is more than 200,000 sexual assaults a year. It is difficult to give advice on a sensitive subject as rape, but I believe that there is hope that sexual violence will someday fall to a minimum. According to RAINN, sexual assault has dropped 50 percent since the early ‘90s. These statistics show that maybe there is a hope and maybe there will be a world someday without such heinous crimes.

Keep Pott’s family in your hearts. If you know someone who has been raped, encourage them to report it. If you hear or see something that is sexual assault related, always notify the authorities.

George Flynn is a senior English major and can be reached at flynng@duq.edu.