Spring break is an integral part of American college culture. After spending months and months studying, performing labs and writing exams, students really look forward to a week of relaxation under the sun with a few beers and good friends. But spring break is not all fun and games. For one 19-year-old female, it became her worst nightmare.
The young woman, whose name is not being released, was at Panama City Beach in Florida, where, passed out on the beach in front of a club, she was raped by four men, while a crowd of fellow spring breakers did absolutely nothing about it. According to a CNN news report, the woman went to police, believing she had been drugged and raped. She had no recollection of the rape, the report goes on, but saw the video that is now on YouTube and noted that the tattooed woman being sexually assaulted by four men was in fact herself.
The rape took place sometime between March 10 and 12 behind Spinnaker Beach Club and is now being investigated by authorities from Troy University in Alabama, the woman’s university, as well as authorities at Panama City Beach. The Bay County sheriff, Frank McKeithen, has expressed in an interview how “disgusted” he was by the behaviour of these men and that the beaches need to be more controlled.
The behaviour of the four men who raped the unconscious woman is not the only thing that is “disgusting.” The video, through which the woman identified herself, showed at least a hundred onlookers, who did nothing at all to stop the assault from occurring. Instead, they continued to drink and party and enjoy themselves.
There is something called the bystander effect, which illustrates how people are less likely to help in an emergency when there are more people in the area. This effect stems out of a social contract of politeness, in that we are expected to behave a certain way in public. But nothing excuses blatantly ignoring an unconscious young woman being raped. Nothing. The fact that hundreds of people were around should mean that this sort of thing should not have happened. The fact that it is more socially acceptable to allow a gang rape to continue than it is to call the people out is a problem. The fact that the woman was drugged in the first place is a problem.
Police made two arrests in early April. The two men were identified as Ryan Calhoun and Delonte Martistee, students of Troy University. The university has suspended both students and has disallowed Martistee to participate on the track team. George Davon Kennedy, a third suspect in the gang rape, was arrested about a week later. Kennedy is a student at Middle Tennessee State University.