Chicago Teens Accused Of Gang-Raping 12-Year-Old Posted Rape Video On Facebook

It has happened again. Three Chicago teenagers have been charged with raping a 12-year-old girl at gunpoint and posting it to Facebook. Call it Steubenville redux, call it even more evidence of rape culture, just don’t dare ignore it.  

It was December 15, 2012 and the young girl had been invited over to the home of 16-year-old Scandale Fritz. What the girl didn’t know is that the boy had also invited two of his other friends over, Justin Applewhite, 16, and Kenneth Brown, 15. 

The young girl was under the impression that she would be speaking with Fritz that afternoon. When she went inside, she saw Brown with a gun in his pocket. That’s when Fritz took her into the basement, where he proceeded to rape and sodomize her. Soon after the first horrific assault, Brown and Applewhite went into the basement, where Fritz demanded that she perform sexual acts on the other two boys. 

She refused twice, but eventually gave into their demands because she feared that Brown would shoot her with the gun he had been brandishing. Brown and Applewhite sexually assaulted the girl while Fritz recorded it. All three of the boys can be seen in the video. Two days later the video was uploaded to Brown’s Facebook and soon after that, it was posted to the other two boys Facebook walls. Absolutely disgusting.

One of the more troubling aspects of this case is that the rape happened in December but the boys were not charged until May. Why did it take prosecutors until May to decide to charge these boys? The victim went to the hospital right away and reported what happened to police, so how did these boys get to walk around as free individuals for four months?

These barriers to justice, these delays, cannot and should not be tolerated. It is hard enough for victims for rape and assault to come forward, especially as victims already feel like their case will not be taken seriously. There's good reason for them to feel this way, cases usually aren't taken seriously. These barriers to justice are real. Police often mishandle and neglect reports of rape.

Using social media as a way to re-victimize those who are already victims is an incredibly disturbing trend. We saw it with Audrie Pott, we saw it with Jane Doe of Steubenville, and we saw it with Rehtaeh Prasons. As if rape isn’t traumatic enough, now we’ve found a way to make rape viral. The rape of teens and young adults is even more prevalent than many believe or care to admit. 

More than half of all rapes occur before the age of 18, 22% before the age of 12. We are failing our children in ways that should be evident to all of us now. Is it an uncomfortable fact? Yes, but it is one we must face. We must provide teens and children with better access and information for what to do if they are being or have been sexually assaulted. 

Each of us has a duty to dismantle rape culture. We can start by demanding the timely and prompt investigations of individuals accused of committing rape and sexual assault