Gang Rape: Looking deeper

By now, almost all of you have heard of that horrific gang rape of the fifteen-year old girl in California (of course, is there any such thing as a non-horrific gang rape? I mean, is there a nice gang rape or a friendly gang rape?). Reports say that as many as 20 people looked on without interfering, calling 911, or coming to her assistance. Everyone seems to be calling for the heads of the witnesses to this modern day Kitty Genovese situation. But has anyone stopped to listen and find out why these witnesses didn’t do anything?

I polled ten of the witnesses in an effort to understand why they didn’t step in and stop this atrocity and got ten valid reasons, which I will share with you now:

“I thought I was watching a filming of the new horror movie – “Saw VII: The Rapening”.” – Michelin E. Maroon, 17

“I was told by my parents and church that when it comes to sex, abstinence is the only way to go, so I abstained.” – Uptitia Schitt, 15

“I did absolutely tell someone. I used my iPhone to send out a tweet about it but only four people follow me, so I updated my Facebook about it, but I think all of my friends hide my status updates because I usually talk about every TV show I watch instead. Did you expect me to actually use my phone to call someone? Like with my voice?” – Schut Inn, 14

“For 36 hours straight before it happened, I was playing Grand Theft Auto and had beaten so many hookers to death that I didn’t realize this was real life.” – Waysta Breff, 13

“I really thought the Pussy Troll was going to come out and save her. I guess Clerks II wasn’t telling the truth about sex?” – Nye Eve, 14

“My parents said never to get involved in any way with anything that happens because I could get sued and they’d lose the house.” – White Dood, 17

“I, like, totally dialed 911 and told them that some chick was like totally getting raped and the bitch on the other line tried to tell me like that I had totally dialed 411 and I was like big diff and she was like what’s up bitch and so I hung up on her. Totally.” – Brussels Marriott, 15

“I know her and she has an Obama sticker on her car. My dad says that anyone who would vote for that Muslim nigger hates America and wants us to become a Communist country by taking away our guns and giving all of our money to people who don’t deserve it, so I wasn’t about to do shit.” – Cleetus Trash, 19

“Turns out I’m a sociopath. Dexter’s my hero.” – Norm Alguy, 16

“Oh, gang RAPE? I thought it was a gang CAKE! No wonder I didn’t get a piece with icing!” – Dee Sensitiza, 19

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179 Replies to “Gang Rape: Looking deeper”

  1. Stone Fox

    i *didn’t* know about this until i read your link.

    this shit is FUCKING. CRAZY.

    i want to punch every single person who watched/walked by/laughed about it/knew about it and did nothing. they all deserve to be punched in the fucking head. repeatedly.

    sadly, i think you are probably on the money with this post.

    fucking world.

  2. Samantha

    Really? This is a child and you are mocking this poor baby? That is someone’s daughter and she was RAPED that is no laughing matter. I do not understand where this even begins to be funny. I hope that you find the peace that you need in life.

    • CP

      @Samantha, please understand that he did not mock the victim. He would never do that. He knows how many women that would hurt and he has a LOT of women in his life. What he was trying to put across is the deplorable act of not getting involved. People who stood on the sidelines and watched this poor baby girl be violated over and over again by multiple perpetrators. And, although it is painful for some of us to read, that is still the harsh reality of the situation. I am not making excuses for a grown man who can handle himself. I just don’t feel he was chastising the victim…just shaming the crowd.

      I had to re-read this post several times and put aside my own personal pain to be able to finally understand it. I hope it didn’t cause you any heartache.

  3. Karen Sugarpants

    Not okay Adam. There isn’t anything funny about this and to say that I’m upset with you is an understatement. Some of your best friends are victims of rape, including me. You know this.
    I can’t tell you how you have made feelings surface tonight. This is just so not okay.

    • Avitable

      @Karen Sugarpants, I’m sorry if this made feeling surface that had been buried. In no way do I consider the act of the perpetrators or the lack of action on the part of the bystanders to be okay in the slightest. It’s abominable and horrific and makes me sick to think that people like that exist. There is no good reason that those people had to not get involved, and that was the point I wanted to make with this post.

    • Hilly

      @Karen Sugarpants, I totally get your pain….trust me, sister. I read this last night then read it again this morning, took a deep breath or ten and am now fine. I think I know Adam’s intent is not evil so I’m able to look past all of this craziness and just shake my head and say, “Oh that Adam…here we go again!”.

  4. Fantastagirl

    So, I live under a rock, didn’t know this happened – clicked on the link – and WTH? what were they thinking?

    Every single one of them who watched, and did nothing – just as guilty as the guys who raped the girl.

    and agree with other posters, you are going to catch so much crap for this one.

  5. MFA Mama

    While I was taking fiction workshops in the course of earning the terminal degree that makes up the first part of my online handle there was a rule we followed when it came to writing about horrific things or using racial slurs in works of fiction: if you’re gonna do it, ya gotta earn it. Because if you’re going to write about something shocking or terrible then you need to write about it so well the reader maybe feels uncomfortable with their reaction. If you screw it up, on the other hand, the reader feels uncomfortable with YOU.

    This post? Did not earn it.

  6. Tracy

    Must say as a victim of rape at the age of 16 I do not find any of this post funny. I know you have a warped sense of humor and all but this is no joking matter. You said you aren’t making fun of the girl, but you are with your “Cleetus Trash” quotation… it’s all wrong, Adam.

    • Avitable

      @Tracy, that’s not mocking the girl at all. That’s showing the narrow mind of someone who would ever think that a rape victim could do anything to deserve that type of violation. I do understand that you don’t see that, though.

  7. Tracy

    Yeah, ok, that makes sense, Adam, but the post is still wrong. On so many levels. I know you like controversy and all that “fun” stuff but this is not fun. For anyone.

    • Avitable

      @Tracy, it’s not really supposed to be fun. I thought it would be dark and really point out that there is no good reason for someone to stand idly by while someone gets raped and anyone who did was either an idiot, a sociopath, or a hateful person, or some combination thereof, and that made them less than human in my eyes.

  8. Erin

    I get that this is supposed to make me feel uncomfortable. I get that it’s satire. I get that it’s a reflection on our culture. I get that Adam is actually on our side here, attempting to point out, with humor, the bystanders and their failure. It’s just really hard to find humor. Sensitive issues do that to everyone, and that’s part of this. I have a husband who cracks really inappropriate jokes all the time. I live with it. But there is a reason they are call ‘inappropriate’ and a reason I punch him in the arm. …Adam I’m virtually punching you in the arm and echoing many here when I say… dude, not cool. However I’m also wondering if you were female, if you’d have a different take. If maybe you wouldn’t decide to go down the humor path. Would a female blogger do this? I honestly don’t know. I’m wondering if this a gender disconnect. Or maybe I’m just thinking about it too much and really I should just punch you in the arm again.

    • Avitable

      @Erin, unfortunately there’s no way to know if I would use humor if I was a woman instead. It could very well be a gender disconnect, or it could be that this is too new of an issue to discuss in this manner. Either way, my arm’s sore now and I’ll probably bruise!

  9. PandoraWilde

    This post isn’t mocking the victim–it’s commenting on the sad mentality of the people who stood by while this child suffered the ultimate indignity and did nothing to help. This satire may reach more people than a post preaching on how idiotic and insensitive people have become, if they’re able to actually WATCH something so heinous without lifing a finger to help. There’s probably 1000 bloggers ranting right now, calling for these witnesses’ heads–and 99% of those articles will be skimmed at best because of the sheer number of them. This one? It got true attention–and I believe that probably was the point.

  10. Robin

    Now you KNOW I am not a prude by any means – I love black humor and satire about some of the fucked-up things that happen in this world, and you never cease to disappoint me with that shit on a daily basis. But really, this post was pretty twisted….even for you, Adam.

    But at the same time, I (VERY VERY VERY) grudgingly see your point. Doesn’t mean I approve of the delivery.

  11. Lauren

    I did not even know this happened until now. πŸ™ I can kinda see what you’re trying to say in this post but rape is one of those subjects that is pretty much off limits to humorists. Nice try though.

  12. Dave2

    I know in your head that “funny trumps all”… but some of the things you find funny should probably stay there. Commenting on the unthinkable inhumanity of not stepping in and stopping the brutal gang-rape of a 15-year-old child is one thing… but adding a humorous slant to the situation is belittling what that poor girl went through and incredibly disrespectful. If the perceived motives of the people who stood by and watched are so funny, is she supposed to just laugh off what happened to her? Rape is a crime that robs a person of their humanity and dignity. Finding humor in it for whatever reason robs you of yours. You are certainly better than this, whether you know it or not. It saddens me to think that this controversial entry is going to attract attention of people who don’t know you… and THIS is how they’ll define you. Nobody needs blog traffic this badly.

    • Avitable

      @Dave2, firstly, I didn’t do this for blog traffic – I wrote it in a way that I thought would NOT be controversial. If I had wanted to foster controversy for traffic, I would have written something much worse. But I didn’t. Secondly, commenting on the unthinkable humanity with outrage and commenting on it with humor doesn’t belittle anything. Both methods are drawing attention to the inhumanity that these bystanders exhibited and they are both valid. Using humor is just as legitimate as getting angry or feeling sad.

      • CP

        @Avitable, not really. I am trying to be supportive of you and your intent, but it is hard to muster that up right now. I feel very conflicted right now.

        I know it probably doesn’t mean much at the moment, but you have sent me to bed crying, fraught with painful memories.

        I imagine that had this happened to your beautiful wife, whom I adore, that you wouldn’t be making this post nor finding the humor in the situation.

        I’m sorry. I won’t comment any further. I’ve taken up enough of your bandwidth.

      • Dave2

        @Avitable, You keep saying that, and I have no idea what you mean by it. Smearing your feces on a canvas could be considered a “legitimate” form of artistic expression… but that’s a far cry from somebody buying your shit to hang on their wall. For all I know, the fuckers who assaulted this 15-year-old girl felt that rape was a “legitimate” recreational activity. Anybody can legitimize anything to themselves (which is, I’d imagine, how NAMBLA members keep from committing suicide), but legitimizing something in your own mind only makes it okay for you. Since I’m guessing you weren’t gang-raped at 15, I’d have to defer to the girl in question as to whether this is “legitimately” funny. Personally, I can’t find anything amusing in so horrific an act, regardless of your intent. Perhaps having been part of a program which paints hospital murals for battered and abused children, and seeing first-hand how their lives are completely destroyed by rape and other violent acts has tainted my thinking.

        • Avitable

          @Dave2, you know exactly what I mean by it. Humor is a legitimate psychological coping mechanism. It’s why many cops and medical professionals make jokes, even at inappropriate times. In the end, though, you’re just as entitled to your opinion as I am, and if you’re personally unable to see the point I was attempting to make, that’s okay.

          • CP

            @Avitable, I am a medical professional and NEVER in my life have I been remotely able to make light of a rape situation. Nor in my ten years of being a nurse have I ever heard a doctor or fellow nurse make a joke about a rape situation.

            Not once, not ever.

  13. GreenInOC

    I understand what you are attempting to do here.

    I am totally offended by the use of the “n” word; I’m pretty sure you are more than clever enough to not use racist language. I get that you think it’s a “joke” and thus somehow okay, but seriously dude it’s 2009 and it’s not a joke and it’s not okay.

    That said, I think I do understand the people watching and not doing anything. Please don’t misunderstand, I find it appalling, shocking, reprehensible, revolting, etc…, however it is human nature to NOT get involved, to NOT speak up, to NOT make yourself the center of attention. THAT is the problem in my view.

    I found the John Quinones series “What Would You Do?” shocking, sad and enlightening and it is a great example of our human nature to not get involved. You can watch some of them on YouTube here: http://bit.ly/4Af8FB

    People seem to have this idea that kids should be conformists. Adults treat children as non-human. They don’t allow them to explore standing up for themselves (sometimes that means “talking back”), they are offended by a child’s opinions and tend to shut them down rather than encourage, they don’t allow them to explore and build their confidence, they don’t allow them to negotiate, they don’t allow them to make decisions. Children are treated as less than and then suddenly expected to behave as confident adults for which they have no practice, no basis.

    Adults often aren’t setting the example for getting/being involved. How many of us are teaching kids how to be active members of our communities? How many of us are teaching kids to speak up in uncomfortable situations? How many people are teaching kids that it’s okay to be different, to take the lead even if it’s unpopular?

    You know how we hear that the US is full of political, social, community, etc… apathy? Personally, I tend to agree. How often do we hear something along the lines of, “oh, I don’t know anything about health care reform it’s too much to read; did you watch Dancing With The Stars last night?!”? Adults who don’t show leadership cannot teach children leadership, children who never see leadership modeled cannot learn it.

    I know for me, I’m going to take this disgust for this horrific experience and honor this young girl by doing my best to be a better leader myself. I am going to make sure to model leadership, especially in front of children. I am going to make sure to encourage children to explore their confidence and allow them to practice being leaders within their comfort zones so that they can go into the world with practical experience and DO THE RIGHT THING. I am going to make sure that I am willing to be the center of attention and allow myself to be outcast because I am standing up for something that I believe is right.

    I apologize that this comment that has turned into a tome!

    • Avitable

      @GreenInOC, I’m sorry that you’re offended by the use of “nigger”. I’ve used it in several posts if it calls for it. I don’t shy away from using any language, especially a word like that which had the impact I wanted to show the idiocy of the speaker. As for the rest of your comment, I agree that by not setting the example, adults don’t have anyone to blame but themselves. But how bad does something have to get before a kid’s instinct to help kicks in?

      • GreenInOC

        @Avitable,

        I am offended by racist language. As to using it when it’s “called” for? Bottom line is that it is NEVER called for. Imagine someone with a white hood and hat on using it because they believe that it is “called” for. What would you think of that? Yes, that would be racist. Guess what, so is your using it. You ask when the kid’s instinct will kick in – when will yours? How bad does racism have to get in this country, how many people on the receiving end of those comments, even those just “overheard”, will have the wind knocked out of them before your instinct will kick in?

        No back to the kid’s instinct kicking in in the gang rape – I guess in spite of my tome I wasn’t clear, sorry about that! – that’s the point, human nature, our instinct, is to NOT step in.

        As a society we think we believe something different (in spite of apathy telling us something different), so there has to be modeling of that behavior.

        If we want to teach leadership then we cannot expect kids to behave like good little soldiers while they are around authority figures and then all of the sudden become exemplary independent free-thinking adults away from their sphere of influence.

    • Robin

      @GreenInOC, Can I just tell you I LOVED this comment? Completely adored it. Your leadership aspect….it’s everything I want to teach my children (when I have them, of course…). More people should have the courage to be leaders. It’s too bad in this society, it’s definitely discouraged.

  14. Courtney

    Many people have made statements about how “not funny” this post is but I wasn’t sure you were actually trying to be funny? This isn’t funny, I was kinda thinking that was your whole point? I saw your post as, what I can only imagine, is probably nauseatingly close to what actually was going on in the minds of the pieces of crap that watched what happened.

    Many people have personal experience with horrible tragic life events, me included. How we choose to feel about them, think about them, talk about them….is just that, a choice. A person can let these events eat them alive from the inside out or….take a different approach.

    I know I don’t know you so I may be way off base here but I had to say something. You just don’t strike me as the type of person to hurt anyone and certainly not as a person who would write this, or anything, callously. I really didn’t get the impression that you were doing that here either.

    • Avitable

      @Courtney, I wasn’t trying to write something that would make people laugh out loud. My attempt was to showcase the different apathetic attitudes people have by mocking them. Thanks for being willing to read it with an open mind.

      • Courtney

        @Avitable, You’re welcome. I understand the “be funny first” response to life’s “stuff” because its mine as well.

        You’ve had the crap beat out of you over this and I just wanted you to know that there was at least one person who read your post that wasn’t hurt, sad, bothered, or pained by reading it. (This statement in no way belittles the responses of others)

  15. Courtney

    One more thing, if I may…..

    Many people use humor as a tool: to cope, to help, to explain, to complain, to cheer…to DEAL. There is nothing wrong with it and many times it sheds a different and more discernible light on a situation. If your post had been written straight, no humor, it may not have made as deep of an impact. You certainly aren’t the only person in the world who’ll be writing about this atrocity. Although many who read it had an impact that you didn’t appear to be aiming for, it would likely make people think about this on a different level.

  16. Greeneyezz

    Adam,

    I usually find myself laughing at the twistedness of your posts.
    I think partly because, as twisted and ‘close to the edge’ as you sometimes come off, I know that you have really do have a big heart and have also written some very endearing posts.

    I think you clearly missed the mark of what you were attempting to do here.
    Especially given that your very dear friend Britt had experienced only a small smidgeon of what that 15 year old had gone through.

    “This makes me sad and angry and makes me want to give you a hug. Saying that this was rape in no way diminishes the power and impact of anyone else’s experience, except your own.” ~Adam http://miss-britt.com/2008/04/but-we-wont-call-it-rape/

    That makes me very sad. πŸ™

    ~ZZ

    • Avitable

      @Greeneyezz, Britt was someone that I kept in mind when I wrote this. She might still be hurt or offended by this – I don’t know – but I know that I was very careful to clearly and explicitly mock the horrible people who stand idly by and let this happen and didn’t mock in any way the actual horrific act itself. As long as I know my intent in what I wrote, I can empathize with anyone who doesn’t see it that way without invalidating my own feelings on the subject.

  17. Angela

    I’ve actually avoided reading the full story for fear of dredging up horrible memories. But I get what you’re saying. These idiotic “reasons” are the only possible “reasons” someone could have for not interfering or reporting this. Meaning there AREN’T any legitimate reasons for the crowd’s actions (inactions).

    You’re right. It’s not funny. It’s angry commentary.

    I think any discussion of this story is going to get people upset. Because it SHOULD! This should never have happened. It’s happened before, but maybe with the publicity it will never happen again. “Pie in the sky” probably though.

  18. Debs

    I get it totally. I am a victim, and there were people around who could have done something, and didn’t. This just totally points that out to everyone by saying so in a very darkly humorous way. Some people get it, some won’t. I think its still way to fresh right now.

  19. Maria

    Not that this at all negates the responses of my friends, and the strangers above me, but I was a 15 year old victim of gang rape. (Whoa, I’m old – 10 years ago!) And by the end of this I was literally LMAO. You weren’t making fun of her, you were commenting with your tongue in your cheek at the panty wastes that stood there and did nothing (except possibly recorded it on their cellphones). I got it. I get it.

    Ok, bye now!

  20. Elizabeth Kaylene

    I’m a victim, and I got this. I can understand why some didn’t and why they are angry, though. What I can’t understand is how any creature that calls themselves a human being could actually stand by and do nothing. This post shows how very desensitized our society has become, and how dire the consequences can be. I feel that the people who watched and did nothing are just as bad as the people who violated that girl.

  21. Amo

    I do not feel that Adam in any way belittled the victim or making light of her tragedy. It is “horrific”, in his own words. He was pointing out the absurdity of the situation. His “witnesses” are all under 19. Their ‘quotes’ are all the kind of shit that dumbass teens do and say in this day and time. I am personally appalled at the frightening similarities between this and the Kitty Genovese murder. In this age of ‘disconnect’ how eerily similar is it that the ‘bystander effect’ is still so very pertinent today.

  22. SciFi Dad

    Dude, this post has been up for less than nine hours and you already have more comments than the time you gave away an iPod Shuffle. By the end of it, you’ll surpass the BtVS giveaway.

    That being said, like a lot of your stuff, I “get” it, but I do think it’s in poor taste.

  23. Sarcastica

    I can definitely see a lot of the excuses being true, especially with the one about twitter and using the iPhone to like talk.

    I’m not laughing though πŸ™ I’m very sad for humanity and disgusted with our future generation. I can’t believe not ONE person helped.

  24. Hilly

    I was raped in my late teens and understand how people would find this post offensive and hurtful and all that jazz. Of course, you know that I don’t stand by your rule of “funny trumps all” but that’s just because I am a bleeding heart liberal who doesn’t see the humor in someone else’s pain. Ever. I don’t care what the subject is.

    That being said, I actually winced more at the use of the “n-bomb” than anything else in this post. I dunno, I just won’t even say that word when I am singing along to Eminem so uh yeah, there’s that.

    I agree with Dave to a point. I know you well and know that you are definitely not pro-rape nor would you take a humorous stance on this shit had it happened to one of your friends. However, not everyone who reads your blog knows you that well and the image that you are portraying here is one that would absolutely disgust me if I were some stranger coming to read your blog. I know that you don’t like it when people randomly dislike you and don’t even know you but this is what you’re putting out there, Adam. This is so not cool to so many people. I think the only reason I am NOT offended is because I do know you.

    I’m sorry…I am not trying to be an asshole at all but you know me, I like to be honest about what I am feeling.

    Maybe tomorrow you should write about fluffy bunnies and law school. πŸ˜‰

  25. Daniel

    I know the names of the people are jokes but I’m pretty sure none of the quotes are real either. I mean, how could you find the witnesses when the police can’t? Is the whole thing supposed to be funny or am I missing something?

  26. Miss Britt

    I call bullshit on “I wasn’t trying to make this funny” while also using the defense that “humor is a coping mechanism”.

    Which is it? Is this angry commentary, or your attempts to use humor to “deal”?

    I didn’t find it funny. At all. I found it offensive and, it seems to me, an attempt to capitalize on someone else’s trauma.

    For me, that’s the worst part.

    You keep saying nothing is off limits. I adamantly disagree.

    • Avitable

      @Miss Britt, I was using humor to point out the absurdity of it. I was not implying in any way that the gang rape itself was funny. I wasn’t trying to capitalize on someone’s pain and suffering; instead, I was trying to make a statement about the absolute horror of these apathetic people. Every person who watched and made no move to call the authorities or stop the rape is a piece of shit, and there is absolutely no good reason that any of them could have to sit by and watch. I’m sorry that you were offended.

  27. bee

    I do see what you are getting at with this post, but I don’t understand your use of the word humour to describe your intention. Your outrage at the situation and disgust with the participants actually comes shining through, as it should. The post is not funny but it makes a good point and if you’d left the word “humour” out when describing it and what you were trying to accomplish out people may have been better able to get the meat of it.

  28. Finn

    I honestly don’t know how to feel about this. I have been fortunate enough not to have had to experience the violation of rape, but I know many women who have (several who are regulars here, as we’ve seen) and it hurts me that this would hurt them. Even as I’m writing this, tears are springing up in my eyes. Not for me, for them.

    I do understand what your intent was, yet I cringed several times while reading this. And then again, I can’t say it didn’t strike a nerve in that it could be a somewhat accurate assesment of the situation.

    The fact that this even happened upsets me beyond words. Add to it horrific incidents close to home where children are hurting and killing each other for bullshit and perhaps this needs to be addressed. I don’t know if this was the way though.

    • Avitable

      @Finn, I did expect people to cringe. But it’s a fine line between cringing at the situation and cringing at me, I guess. And I tried to write this very carefully to be clear about how I feel about the actions of the mob and the rapists, but even with that I still managed to hurt people. I hate that I did that.

  29. Sybil Law

    We live in s sick fucking world. I hadn’t heard of this and now I want to go out and kill people.
    However, you definitely got the names right. Fucking what the hell?! Who stands by and watches this shit?! GAH!

  30. ahmielyn

    I’m a relatively new reader but this post, regardless of how else it is perceived, was definitely powerful enough for me de-lurk and comment. I understand the concept and I also get the humor – but only if I take it out of the immediate context of this girl’s tragedy.

    I can’t speak for other women, but my main issue is that in many cases the substance of the post’s “quotes” comes way too close to what victims may feel about themselves after an attack; not all victims automatically and immediately realize that they are blameless. This girl is going to live the rest of her life wondering why this happened, why no one came forward, why people laughed. *Why wasn’t she worth someone’s help?*

    In her journey toward the answers to these questions she at some point may turn inward, calling herself the same names and attributing to herself the same qualities listed in your satirical commentary. I think that’s why the post is so upsetting to me; I can imagine these types of thoughts running through her head already. They aren’t real or true but literature and journalism have special powers. Writing something down can make it real, even if it’s not true. This is the glory of social satire, in my opinion: the ability to force a reader face something real instead of glossing over the bits that aren’t palatable.

    Overall I think it’s the narrow focus of the post that hurts me so much. There is a difference between reading something and applying it to your personal situation and reading about your personal situation. It’s a post specific to this girl, this attack, her life. If she read your post, do you think she would see the humor?

      • Greeneyezz

        @Ren,

        “If you can identify with the victim, you’re probably going to hate this post. Otherwise, maybe not.”

        I don’t agree with that. What about identifying with being a human being?
        What about empathy, which doesn’t have to be qualified as being a victim or not?

        I think someone who is empathetic for their fellow Human Being can very understandibly “hate this post”.
        Otherwise, wouldn’t that be the definition of a Sociopath? http://www.mcafee.cc/Bin/sb.html

        ~ZZ

        • Ren

          @Greeneyezz, You’re right, “if you can identify” is not what I should have said. I should have said, “if you naturally identify” or something like that. When I first heard about this story, I was shocked and full of sympathy for the victim and anger at the bystanders. More anger at the bystanders than the perpetrators, in fact. (Is that wrong?) When I read this post, I took it as a lambasting of the bystanders and was all aboard on that notion. It was only after reading some of the replies here, @ahmielyn’s in particular, that I really began to understand a different perspective. However, that didn’t change my initial reaction and while I can now envision a variation of this post that may have been less problematic — though I could be wrong about that, too.

          Also, sympathy is easy, but empathy is hard. I do not think it is natural to empathize with someone when you’ve never had a similar experience. I believe that people who can do so have a special skill.

      • ahmielyn

        @Ren @Greeneyezz @avitable,

        I don’t hate the post. It’s powerful and upsetting, like a lot of other good writing. The humor of it didn’t appeal to me but I can tell that’s how it was meant and written, and I can see how other people would appreciate it. I just think it’s too soon, and too specific.

  31. muskrat

    i thought of kitty g when i heard the report, too. this story is sad but not shocking, really. i’m surprised there aren’t more such instances (there likely are; they just don’t get national media attention).

  32. Faiqa

    I don’t care about your post either way. I’m so upset about this, I’m not ready to laugh at any jokes about this situation… so, whether this is funny or not is of little concern to me. I want to rip the heads off of all of the people involved. Not just for what they did or how they stood by and let it happen, but because they made me lose a substantial amount of my belief in the intrinsic goodness of people. I hate that.

  33. Lisa

    I often wonder how we as a civilization have managed to survive, when clearly we have not escaped the barbarism of the past. If anything society seems to have done an incredible moral backslide in the last decade. The fact that these people could just stand by and watch sickens me. I think it seems more appalling because we can’t pass it off as the act of a crazy person, which somehow usually makes us feel better and more removed from an horrific act. These were supposedly normal human beings who stood by and let this poor girl suffer. That is possibly more reprehensible than the rape itself.

  34. Nenette

    Yeah, I had to run this through my Adam-filter, and got it. I can see how those who haven’t purchased their Adam-filters yet wouldn’t get it though.

    Anyway, I truly don’t know how NO ONE tried to stop it or at least call 911. Makes me just want to keep my daughter home forever.

  35. Crys

    read this in my reader and had to come to see what exploded on you today.

    i saw an interview with Deepak Chopra on Larry King last night concerning this tragedy, but frankly I forget what he said, though it was something concerning “group mind”, and it sounded like he was positing that in a mob circumstance everyone’s mind kind of calibrates together (in sentiment? intent?) in order to create the mob.

    i don’t know if i buy it. i keep remembering that black guy with the bible when Reginald Denney was getting his ass kicked during the riots. where was the sane person? seriously? not even just one?

    sick, sick business.

  36. Redneck Mommy

    I am still disappointed that you chose this subject matter to try and make light of and then hide behind the excuse that you were trying to make a satirical statement about society.

    I get that you frequently use the shock value of a situation in your blog posts, but there are some situations that are just NEVER funny. This is one of them.

    I think you overstepped your boundaries on this one and while I respect your effort, I would have preferred you directed your energy in a different manner on this issue. It bothers me as your friend and someone who loves you that people who don’t know you will read this and use it as a judgement against you.

    Not to mention: I told you so. Shoulda listened to me dude. Neener, neener.

  37. NYCWD

    You impressed me with the reference to Kitty Genovese. I thought that was a New York only thing to know about.

    Other than that, well, it’s just reason #1,279 why California should sink into the Pacific.

  38. CP

    I wrote a post about your post on my blog. It has really stuck with me all day. It’s preoccupied my thoughts. I don’t want anyone to hurt over this post. I surely don’t want anyone to be angry at you for your post. I don’t know if my post will make sense…it’s just my way of clearing my head.

    I hope you read it.

  39. MB

    I couldn’t bring myself to comment on this yesterday but after commenting on CP’s post this morning I thought I would add it here as well.

    Some things are just NOT FUNNY no matter how much of a spin you put on it. I love your humor and know your intention wasn’t to hurt but to make people laugh but there is just nothing funny about rape.

    I was attacked in junior high school and although my rapist was interrupted and stopped before he went “all the way” to rob me of my virginity it left a very deep scar especially since I had a crush on the b*st*rd. I believe rapist should be castrated and on-lookers should be jailed. There is just no excuse.

    Please bring back the funny.

  40. tony

    good post…i really liked the witness names…”White Doood” 17….LMAO

    sorry for the girl,this should never happen,the fact that it did depresses me to no end.

  41. Ginny

    This post accomplishes exactly what satire should: it holds a mirror up to the perpetrators, showing how absolutely ridiculous their actions were.

    I didn’t laugh. And I don’t think you wanted me to.

  42. Anonymous

    I didn’t think it was funny, with the exception of the names, but I don’t think it’s offensive either.

    I think a lot of anger is being misplaced here. I believe some people are getting upset with Avitable because they need to put the anger somewhere and because of this post he’s an easy target. We feel helpless and at least yelling at him makes us feel like we’re doing something.

  43. Penny

    Avitable,
    Long time lurker, first time commenter! You and Memphis Steve sure know how to open some big ol’ cans of worms!
    P.S. going to hell with Capricorn Cringe…

  44. Jester

    I lived in Richmond, CA not so long ago. I now live about 20 minutes away and this story is dominating our news.

    While I’m fully adept at dealing with horrific events with humor and often laugh at inappropriate times, I can tell you this story has opened a gigantic gaping wound in the entire community.

    There is nothing funny about this situation. There is no humor in the witnesses who don’t trust the police (with good reason) enough to call them to save a 15 year old girl from a brutal attack.

    There is nothing funny about furthering a stereotypical belief that the youth in this community is stupid, lazy, or criminal.

    This community is ravaged by gangs, terrorized by the threat of personal harm for “snitching,” and there are some areas of the cities that are completely unsafe for the police to even patrol.

    I get what you were trying to do, Adam, I really do. But…

    Picking at the scabs of probably the most horrific thing that has ever happened in many of your readers’ lives, and attempting to find humor at the expense of critically injured 15 year old girl who was brutally assaulted and raped for over 2 1/2 hours is one of the most reprehensible things I think you could have ever done.

    Bravo.

    • Avitable

      @Jester, the youth in the community are stupid, lazy AND criminal. They let a girl get gang raped for two and a half hours. It opened a wound in the community because the people in the community who let it happen are just as guilty as the actual rapists. And yes, I was mocking them. In no way was I finding humor at the victim’s expense. But the witnesses? They’re pieces of shit.

      • Jester

        @Avitable, They aren’t stupid, lazy and criminal. They are terrorized and live in what is essentially a war zone. I suspect that if you were faced with a gang of 10-15 angry teenagers in one of the worst neighborhoods in northern California from outside the safety of your bullet-proof Hyundai, you’d be a little less inclined to point fingers.

        I suspect that the 15 year old girl in question, were she to read this, would fail to see the distinction between mocking the witnesses and finding humor at her expense.

          • Jester

            @Avitable, I’m not saying it’s “ok” that they didn’t intervene. I’m saying that there are many reasons why they didn’t, none of which are funny in the slightest.

          • Avitable

            @Jester, I think I wrote my other reply at the same time. In the end, I don’t give a shit about the feelings of the people who did NOT get raped. That’s why I mocked them. They’re not damaged. They’re perfectly fine. And they deserve to be punished as well.

        • Avitable

          @Jester, actually, “hypocrite” is harsh. You’re not being hypocritical, but you are being insensitive. I don’t think I could watch a young girl be raped, no matter the situation. If I was unable to help myself, I would leave and find help. It’s that simple. The people who didn’t do that are weak.

  45. Clayton

    I read about 1/4 of your post, and was filled in by Valerie. Later on that night, after a poor attempt at a non related to your post joke, I said… “well, its funnier than gang rape!”, So you gave me something, anytime from now on, I bomb at a joke, I can always say… “funnier than gang rape”

  46. Clayton

    I just remembered, some time in the last few weeks Jon Stewart was trying to mock legislators who were against a bill that would grant federal employees who have been raped the ability to prosecute. He had a Grape Nut looking Cereal box titled “Rape Nuts”. The crowd booed the joke and he moved on. Point being, the word rape is too serious to find humor in anything revolving around the subject.

      • GreenInOC

        @Avitable,

        Really? You really think that there is NO word that lacks humor.

        I’ve got quite a few but I’ll stick with one for now.

        I read this post from Redneck Mommy and it changed the way I speak. I’m old and set in my ways, but her post moved me, made sense to me and of course shamed me. Of all the things it did, the most important and impactful was spur me to action – I have eliminated it from my vocabulary and correct people when I hear it:

        http://theredneckmommy.com/2009/03/10/dear-internet-im-placing-you-on-notice/#comments

        “Surely there is a better way to prove the point you are trying to make…” – this could be applied to racist language (see your use and defense and the “n” word); gender or sexual bashing language, etc…

        • Avitable

          @GreenInOC, I don’t defend the word nigger at all. It’s a horrid word, but the truth is that people use it, and they use it in the same context as I did above. That wasn’t me saying it. I do, however, defend the use of the word retard. It’s still funny sometimes. And Tanis hates that I do it, but that’s me.

          • GreenInOC

            @Avitable,

            You don’t defend the word?

            On 10/29/09 @ 6:39am YOU wrote:

            “I’m sorry that you’re offended by the use of “nigger”. I’ve used it in several posts if it calls for it.”

            You “excuse” is that people use it and in the same context that you did? Well, people often are afraid to speak up, to be the one person in the crowd to do something. People often let bullies decide how they are going to act. People often keep silent and don’t do something. Isn’t that what you are attempting to expose by this post?

            “That wasn’t me saying it.” Huh? YOU wrote that. You “said” it.

            I totally understand where you are coming from with the use of the “r” word because that’s how I felt too. Until I read Tanis’ post. I realized what might be funny to me would be hurtful to other people who did nothing to deserve it. I knew that I could do better than hurt people, even when it was thoughtless and even when I just was trying to be funny.

  47. Amber

    I’m going to stay out of the whole “funny vs. non-funny” debate here, for several reasons.

    A) People that read your blog every day should *know* that this is how you roll.
    B) They could have stopped reading at any time.
    C) I don’t think that you have a malicious, cruel, bone in your body toward women.

    I just wanted to pose some questions to the multitudes here about the WHY behind this happening. Because it occurred to me that EVERYONE (including myself) is shocked, angry, disgusted, horrified, etc. about what happened to this child.

    But is anyone looking at how/why we, as a nation, have been so desensitized to things of this nature?

    How much do we look past and ignore on a daily basis? That homeless person begging for food down the street from our offices? Yeah – we ignore him/her because we’re convinced they have a drug/alcohol problem and there’s no reason they shouldn’t have a job.

    We don’t blink twice listening to the latest news about how someone was shot and killed behind the local Wal-Mart the night before.

    We ignore SO FREAKING MUCH it’s ridiculous. And then something like this happens that hits an area of our hearts that hasn’t been completely hardened yet and we get the response that SHOULD be a normal response.

    But it’s not. Because we’re jaded and cynical and we’ve seared our conscience in an effort to block ourselves from the pain and ugliness this world has to offer.

    So my question tonight is: what is the biggest culprit of hardening our hearts? Of making us so USED to things that they become commonplace and we don’t bat an eye?

    What is it that almost every American family has in their home… usually in more than just one room of the house? What is it that we allow to speak and teach and show us… and our children?

    Violence, murder, rape, sexual exploitation of females… they are on EVERY CHANNEL of the television set. We expose our children to that starting at one and two years of age. By the time the average American kid graduates high school, he’s witnessed 55,000 murders on television. Is it any wonder they’re bringing guns to school and there’s no VALUE placed on human life any more?

    God only knows how many rapes they see on tv… how many Law & Order: SVU shows have these kids watched? Or whatever?

    And since we, as the adults and leaders in this society, are allowing our kids to watch this and watching it ourselves… is it possible we are perpetuating one of the root causes behind a conscience-less society?

    The sick and twisted scum that raped this girl… I hope they get the maximum punishment allowable by the law.

    … And yet… they didn’t get that way overnight, or by themselves…

    I wonder if we really gave it some thought, what we would come up with in answer to: what are we exposing ourselves to on television?

    We need some responsibility and accountability in this nation and for everyone to stop pointing the finger there, shifting the blame there, closing a blind eye here.

    This is… absolutely morbid and completely unacceptable. But if we don’t do something to change where we’re headed NOW… then even brutally gang-raping someone in front of a group of witnesses is going to be commonplace and then what’s next?

    Sorry for the rambling… just trying to make sense out of the thoughts/emotions flooding my own head over all this…

  48. Allison Zapata

    β€œFor 36 hours straight before it happened, I was playing Grand Theft Auto and had beaten so many hookers to death that I didn’t realize this was real life.” – Waysta Breff, 13

    HAHHAHAHAHAHAHAHHAHAHA

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