Teens dismissive of concerns about alleged rave sexual assault
Teenagers who attended a B.C. rave where a girl was allegedly gang-raped are making some shocking comments -- in person and online -- about the assault.
Charissa, a Pitt Meadows teen who attended the rave at a rural home on Sept. 10 and 11, says she saw pictures of the rape posted on Facebook before they were deleted this week.
"I just heard she was sexually harassed and drugged," Charissa told CTV News.
Another girl, Elizabeth Calfas, says she was one of several hundred teens invited to the party through Facebook. Tickets sold for $10.
"They weren't the only ones that were having sex at the party," she said.
The pictures appeared on the site the next day.
"By the next morning they were getting sent around, even on BBM (Blackberry Messenger). They were just everywhere by the next morning. That's how fast news travels now."
The circulation of the photos and cruel comments posted online have police fuming -- especially suggestions by some partygoers that the victim "asked for it" or deserved to be raped.
"Regardless of what people believe they might have seen that night, or think they might have heard, this was a rape. This girl could've been anybody's sister, daughter or friend," RCMP Cpl. Jennifer Hyland said.
Teenage Justin was at the party, and he said he's skeptical.
"We are thinking it's being over-exaggerated. I don't think she was as messed up as she's making it out to be," he said. "I don't think she was raped.... Apparently she was saying stuff."
Police are disgusted by teens' reactions to the suspected rape.
"The youth don't seem to understand that this is a rape. There's this thought that somehow it was consensual and some 16-year-old wants her private parts displayed out in a field with people watching and men taking advantage of her," Insp. Darren Lench said.
"That's the disgusting part."
Comments echoed online
After the pictures appeared on Facebook and other social-networking sites, similarly shocking comments followed.
People wrote that the victim is a "Straight up WHORE," a "complete slut," and someone even suggested, "Cmon who's not down for a gang bang."
Merlyn Horton of the Safe Online Outreach Society, says teenagers don't understand the consequences of what they say or post online.
"Young people are dis-inhibited when they go online. It's difficult to connect that there are real people, real relationships and real feelings that are being impacted because they are behind the insulation of a computer screen," Horton said.
"They have a lot of things role-modelled for them of extreme images being provided, or embarrassing photographs being distributed through the web, and they see it's becoming normalized to laugh at someone in distress."
Horton says that before the advent of the internet, victims of assaults like this one got some sense of closure. Now, the suffering can carry on forever.
Facebook administrators are now working with the RCMP in their investigation.
With reports from CTV British Columbia's Lisa Rossington and Leah Hendry