April 8, 2013
A friend of mine has this pretty awesome teenage boy. Yes he can be an idiot sometimes and I have, in fact, told her she is far too nice to this kid on more than one occasion when he has been acting like a turd. However, overall, nice boy. Works hard, does well in school, signed up for college in the fall, has a part-time job – nice kid. He was in the parking lot of the local high school (he’s finishing up grade 12) and a kid jumped him when he got in his car. You see, he’s not a small boy necessarily and this kid figured he would level the playing field a little and wait until the kid was trapped and basically defenseless and then he punched him in the face and head a few times before this kid could get away. No one that actually works at the high school seems to have seen anything. Police were involved, photos and statements taken, the whole nine yards. I think charges were laid, the kid was suspended for a week, served two days and then wouldn’t you know, he shows up in school in my friend’s son’s shop class with him. Surprise. He’s on conditions to keep the peace, stay away etc and apparently, they don’t “count” when you’re at school because that interferes with the assailants rights to receive an education.
Surprised? – don’t be. It happens all the time. I could tell you story after story of kids who have been assaulted, beat up, raped, harassed, humiliated, stalked, threatened and tortured and have the choice between going to school and sitting in the same class with their abuser or, you know, dropping out of school or switching schools or whatever. Why does the victim have to rearrange their life and give up their friends and be scared to go to school and compromise their education in order to protect the assailant’s right to get an education? What about the victim’s rights to an education? Preferably one that is without harm and risk of getting your head beat in. Apparently if you’re a victim, you don’t have one.
This is something that makes me beyond angry on so many levels. There are a million issues here. One, the school is worried about making the accused person’s parents angry. Really. Why does our society reward aggressive and violent behaviour like this? And don’t kid yourself because that is exactly what’s happening, over and over again.
How long do you think before someone says, “I wonder what ‘x’ did to deserve that?”.
We LOVE to blame the victim, look for fault, look for an excuse, look for the reason.
I get it. We’re taught from day one that good things happen to good people and bad things happen to bad people. The princess always gets the prince in every single children’s story and the bad guy always has bad things happen to him. It’s drilled into us from the minute someone opens a Disney story. We like to believe, in fact, many folks NEED to believe that these random acts of abuse and assault have to happen for a reason because the world is too scary and unpredictable otherwise. Hey, I watch my CSI and Criminal Minds shows, I know there is always a motive but in the teen years, the motive is almost always centered around the assailant, not the victim. The victim is just ‘there’. Kids are far too ego-centric at that age to move beyond themselves and their own issues and needs and wants and will project crap onto other kids. For some reason, our generation of adults seems to like to reward that behaviour by looking at the victim to accommodate the assailant because god knows we wouldn’t want to make anyone upset now.
Our teenagers are still children and they need us to help protect them when they get hurt. Sure the world is not fair and that is a lesson kids learn quite a bit in high school but they shouldn’t have to learn that the adults around them suck at taking care of them and helping them to be safe from harm and abuse. It’s our job and we have done a really crappy job of it when it comes to not holding kids accountable when they should be and being part of the group that looks at the victims as the reason for the abusive behaviour.
I hope the next generation gets it better than we have.