Audrie Pott Suicide Proves That Rape Culture is Becoming Systemic

Last fall, 15-year-old Audrie Pott posted on her Facebook that her life was ruined, and that she was having the "worst day ever," shortly before hanging herself. Those words. that are undoubtedly uttered by teens on a daily basis, most often are labeled as over-dramatic and theatrical. However, Pott was being anything but when she committed suicide after allegedly being sexually assaulted at a party while passed out, and then being humiliated by finding photos of the assault online.

For the eight months that followed her suicide, Pott's family struggled to figure out what exactly happened to their loving, artistic, gentle young daughter. On Thursday, however, their questions were answered as three 16-year old boys from Northern California were arrested on charges of sexual battery. 

The family attorney, Robert Allard said that, "Based on what we know, she was unconscious, there were multiple boys in the room with her ... They did unimaginable things to her while she was unconscious.” 

However, he also says that the teen didn't commit suicide until after the photos from the alleged attackers were published online. 

The attack itself happened in September 2012 at a friend's house while parents were away. Only about eight or 10 high school students had attended, with hard liquor mixed with Gatorade was being served. According to Allard, Pott had gotten drunk and had passed out in a bedroom, where at least three male teens performed various sexual acts on her without her knowledge or consent.

At least one photo of the girl being assaulted and naked was taken, which had gone viral through text messages and Facebook. 

All three boys are minors, two from Saratoga and one from Gilroy, and are being held at Juvenile Hall until their hearings, which are to be held on Monday or Tuesday. None have been charged with a crime as of yet. 

The girl's parents, who were in the dark regarding their daughter's attack, want the boys persecuted as adults. 

"What these boys did is beyond unconscionable,” Allard said. “They should be held to the highest standard of the law to make sure this never ever happens again.

This attack unfortunately bears a resemblance to both the Rehtaeh Parson's case and Steubenville rape case, demonstrating that this rape culture is not only growing, but also systematic. In each case, the girl had been sexually assaulted after drinking too much, and then had been further harassed by the attackers and peers alike when pictures of the assault had been released online. 

Each one of these cases eventually disappears from the news, and unfortunately, from our minds. But their mark on both the American culture and the world are indelible. The instincts of all people involved in making these photos go viral have not been, "lets help the victim," but have been more toward finding gossip to talk about and laugh at. And that in particular, that attitude towards rape and assault, is what needs to be changed. It's not an easy fix, but it sure as hell needs to be done. And it likely needs to start with awareness of what is right and what is wrong. 

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Areej Elahi-Siddiqui

A Pakistani-American undergraduate student at the Seton Hall's School of Diplomacy and International Relations. She enjoys watching inordinate amounts of television, reading far too many books and drinking lots and lots of coffee.

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