Sunday, April 27, 2008

Rape and responsibility

It's nearly midnight and I was preparing to go to bed and contemplate life in League One for Southampton FC, when The Nation's article about three boys aged "between" (from?) eight to twelve years old raping an eight year old girl jumped out at me.

It goes without saying that this news is utterly tragic. After reading it, I couldn't help but recall recent discussions about responsibility that have taken place on TN's blog site. Certainly, this article raises huge, huge questions of responsibility.

What do the parents of the three boys have to say for themselves? Did they know where their boys were? Did they know the company they were keeping?

Did the owners of the Internet cafe see the older boys watching pornography? Did they see the younger boys watching too? If - as I suspect they will tell the police - they didn't see it , then are they the worst business owners in the world?

Were the boys doing this when they should have been at school? Did the school make any effort to trace them?

At such a difficult and tragic time it would be totally unfair to ask prejudiced parents of the parents. Still, I think it will be important for the police to ascertain how it came to be that three boys had the opportunity to lure this girl away without anyone noticing.

Where did the boys learn to behave like this? They may have seen a video, and I am far from naive, but still I find it hard to believe that an eight year old boy who has been well parented would think it was OK to do this, or even to fail to realise it was downright wrong.

Let's not be lazy and simply say that people don't take responsibility. Let's look a bit deeper and ask ourselves: where does responsibility start? Who should take responsibility in this case and how much? What can we do to prevent things like this happening again? Is it more likely to happen in Thailand than other countries? If so, why? What can we do to change that?

A young girl has been mentally scarred for life. I hope that the authorities won't treat this as just another case.

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