Plenty of questions but no easy answers in wake of gang rape Brutality of the incident at Richmond High is hard to fathom. October 31, 2009|SANDY BANKS
The sense of horror seems to be fading at Richmond High -- the Northern California school that made news around the world this week after a 15-year-old girl was gang-raped outside a campus homecoming dance while a crowd of students watched but did nothing to intervene. Local school board members in this East Bay city near Oakland want to promote safety measures -- fences, lights, security cameras -- on the drawing board for years, now about to be delivered.
Richmond High students want outsiders to stop calling them animals and savages. "We feel like they're blaming the school," an angry senior complained at a school board meeting I attended Wednesday night. "It wasn't nobody's fault," she said. "People shouldn't be pointing fingers." And school officials are making sure to emphasize the tragedies that didn't happen. The homecoming dance "was a success in terms of safety because nothing happened at the event," a campus police officer announced. "We have a safe environment at Richmond High." And I wondered if that made the students feel better, as I surveyed the secluded swath of campus where the sophomore girl was raped and beaten for two hours last Saturday night while the partygoers danced in the gym. Police said as many as 10 people participated in the attack while 20 others watched -- jeering, taking photos and messaging friends to join them. The sideshow went on until almost midnight, when police were called by a girl whose boyfriend had turned down the invitation to come have sex with "a drunk girl." Officers found the victim cowering under a bench, half-naked, intoxicated and semiconscious. The girl was hospitalized for four days. Five suspects face felony charges. ::
I've thought about the theories offered by experts this week to explain the brutality of the attack and the...