From what I've discerned in recent news reports, two deaf teenage boys, ages 16 and 14, sexually assualted a 10-year-old child from September 2011 until January 2012.
Apparently the abuse stopped when the little boy discovered he could scream. To further complicate the story, it appears that none of this saw the light of day until March. It was then that the 14-year-old alleged perpetrator confessed to his mother what they had done to the 10-year-old AND said that he himself was abused by the 16-year-old. Disgusting! Heartbreaking! Heinous!
How in the world, for FOUR months, could Ella Holland the bus driver, not know what was going? It was not even a standard long bus, it was a short one. Many people are in denial of many things and maybe this woman could not wrap her mind around the possibility that such a horrific act was happening right under her nose. But it did happen; and it happens all of the time. It happens in the safety of one’s own bedroom, it happens in the safety of a classroom, it happens in the safety of a school bus, and it happens in countless other safe places. Ninety percent of the time, it is being perpetrated by someone the victim knows and trusts.
There is a lot of blame to go around in this terrible case and it is too bad House Bill 1176 is not already in place. Governor Deal signed the proclamation for HB 1176, http://www.legis.ga.gov/legislation/en-US/Display/20112012/HB/1176, and it will be law as of July 1, 2012.
In effect, it deems all volunteers and employees of any institutions that deal with children, as a mandatory reporter (see page 35, lines 1209 – 1216). That would take care of the bus driver. However, it is not yet in effect and I am not sure just how much responsibility she will shoulder.
So who is next in the blame game - other adults? Of course they are next. How can they not be?
In my humble opinion many adults can shoulder some of the blame. Not necessarily for the “act”, but for the “lack” of communication.
What in the world am I talking about you ask? I am talking about talking. As adults, and parents, it is
Adults and parents need to know what questions to ask of youth serving organizations regarding policies and procedures. Parents need to take it upon themselves to learn how to insist on policy changes and know what type of behavior changes to look for in their children. All adults need to understand that 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys will be sexually abused by their 18th birthday, nearly 40 percent are abused by older or larger children, and 50 percent of all victims of forcible sodomy, sexual assault with an object, and forcible fondling are under the age of 12.* Adults need to know these things and be prepared to beat the statistics.
There is a thorough training program (Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children) available that teaches adults how to prevent, recognize, and react responsibly to CSA.
Imagine if Ella had taken the class, maybe she would not have ignored the commotion. Imagine if one of the parents had taken the training, they may have picked up on some of the signs.
Of course the big blame goes to the perpetrators. At ages 14 and 16, they are old enough to know right from wrong and I have not read anything to indicate that they have any other handicap. It is a sad state of affairs that those boys believed, that they could do such a terrible thing and no one would tell. After all, that was the case with the 14-year-old. And I will go out on a limb and guess something just as vile happened to the 16-year-old.
What happens next? For these boys, at least two will start the healing process. For the rest of us, we must take prevention in our own hands!
*Statistics are published in the Darkness to Light, Stewards of Children Interactive Workbook.