Just Another Guy with Opinions

Children Raping Children

Posted by shadmia on March 15, 2009

“11-Year-Old Girl Charged with Rape”, was the headline of a story I came across at the  Zanesville Times Recorder. It was the story of this pre-teen girl who was charged with three counts of rape. According to Detective Randy Ritchason the girl had some type of sexual contact with three other childrentwo boys and a girlall under the age of 10. She was charged in Muskingum County Juvenile Court.

“I believe it’s the youngest perpetrator we’ve had,” Ritchason said. “We’ve had young teens before, but she is about the youngest I’ve ever dealt with.”

Apparently, this is a very rare case but there seems to be an increasing number of kids who are the perpetrators of sex-based crimes, usually committed against other children. Rhonda Hinkle, a supervisor with Muskingum County Children’s Services, thinks that there are societal forces at work that encourage young kids to engage in sexual activities.

“I think a lot of it has to do with society today,” Hinkle said. “We have so many blended families today, we have all the technology that children at young ages are allowed access to and we have entirely different sets of values and issues then ever before.”

There is much evidence to support her suspicions: from sexy billboards, to scantly clad women selling everything from underwear to cars, to increasing sexual content being shown on TV, to the latest celebrity scandal, to Presidential infidelity on the evening news, to adult (and child) pornographic websites, its seems that society is obsessed with sex and the kids are absorbing all of it.

Rhonda Hinkle said her office investigates about 10 to 15 cases a month where a young person is the perpetrator of a sex abuse. The crimes range from rape, gross sexual imposition, sexual imposition, pornography and even “sexting” – forwarding lewd images on cell phones. Hinkle said she has seen children as young as 10 or 11 having consensual sex.

It makes one wonder if kids are not being pressured in adult activities by their environment and perceived expectations of what it means to be a grown-up. After all we, the adults, set the examples for our kids to follow. It is doubtful whether a pre-pubescent child would have sexual urges, so where does this kind of behavior come from?

“These kids are watching this stuff on television, they see it on the computers, they are seeing their parent or guardians in relationships where more physical or sexual stuff is being shown then used to be or even should be,” Ritchason said. “Young kids are being exposed to things today through technology and lifestyles that they really shouldn’t be.”

The sad thing is that in many cases the young perpetrators and the victims either live in the same household and are related or are in close contact with each other. John Shaffer, court director for the Muskingum County Juvenile Court system, who has been involved in the court system for 27 years said that most of the offenders he has seen in the court system have lower IQs. and their victims usually are younger children in the same home.

“It’s not that they’re out stalking younger children,” Shaffer said. “They’re already in a situation where they find children they can take advantage of.”

“One of the biggest problems is not knowing where your child is and who your child is with,” Hinkle said. “Parents need to know that child’s friends and their parents. Don’t send your child on a sleepover to someone’s home thinking that the same rules you have is going to apply in that household, too.”

There are signs to look out for in cases of suspected abuse: Bedwetting, withdrawing, sleeping in their clothes, making sure a belt is tightly secure on their clothes while in bed, sleeping with lights on when they’ve been sleeping just fine with the lights off are just a few.

It should be noted however that observing some of these behaviors in children does not necessarily mean that they are being abused. They are nevertheless signs that all may not be well and some form of attention or intervention may be needed.

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