Here's an article pointing out the corporate media's use of the term "hazing" when discussing the Sayreville, NJ case where several freshman football players were forcibly sodomized by senior players. Though they were technically "hazed" as part of a traditional ritual, the inclusion of forcible sodomy requires use of the term "rape" in addition to the lesser charged term of "hazing". To simply haze someone as part of an initiation ritual could include other ideas such as wearing peanut butter in their cloths during class or many other harmless pranks. Holding someone down on the ground and inserting fingers into their anus is crossing the line from "hazing" into "rape" territory.
"Sayreville Football Case: It’s rape, not hazing
Words Matter. Why the Sayreville H.S. Football Case Isn’t a “Hazing Scandal”. It’s About Keeping the Silence and it’s About RAPE."
Posted on October 9, 2014 by drdae
"Another story was all over my news feed yesterday. As I scrolled along, friends were expressing outrage that a High School one town over from my own hometown was involved in some sort of a “hazing scandal”. As I delved further into the incident, I was sickened to read reports that that children were repeatedly being sexually assaulted in the Sayreville War Memorial High School football locker room. “ It would start with a howling noise from a senior football player, and then the locker room lights were abruptly shut off. In the darkness, a freshman football player would be pinned to the locker room floor, his arms and feet held down by multiple upperclassmen. Then, the victim would be lifted to his feet while a finger was forced into his rectum. Sometimes, the same finger was then shoved into the freshman player’s mouth.”
A parents-only meeting was held with school superintendent Richard Labbe who determined that the rest of the Sayreville Football season would be cancelled. He stated that “There was enough evidence to substantiate there were incidents of harassment, intimidation and bullying that took place on a pervasive level, on a wide-scale level and at a level in which the players knew, tolerated and in general accepted.” Labbe continued, “We need to make a strong statement to the students in this program,” “To the students in all of our programs, to the students in all of our schools that the level of harassment, and intimidation and bullying that was confirmed to us that had taken place is not going to be tolerated at all.” He also called it “inappropriate conduct at a significant and serious nature.”
From High School locker rooms, to college campuses nationwide, to the NFL. When will we learn? Bullying? Yes. Intimidation? Yes. Harassment? Yes. Inappropriate conduct? Yes. But one word is missing. RAPE. All of this skirting around language and avoiding talking about the true violent sexual nature of these crimes diminishes the experience of the victims. As long as there is stigma and taboo surrounding our bodies/sex/sexuality and sexual violence, victims will remain silent, people with knowledge of abuse will second-guess themselves, and perpetrators will be free to continue to abuse. What further diminished the experience of the victims and all that were triggered by the violence in that locker room are the parents who were reportedly “outraged” that the football season was cancelled. “NJ Advance Media obtained audio from the two-hour meeting Monday night with Labbe and parents, and most of the questions or comments center on the same theme: That the victims were the players who had their season cancelled, and not the kids held down on that locker-room floor.
” “It’s bogus,” said Curtis Beckham, whose son plays on the varsity team. “I don’t think what they’re doing is fair. A lot of the students who are innocent, they’re suffering.” “The innocent did nothing wrong and they are punished,” said Theresa Tamburri, whose daughter is a freshman cheerleader at the school. “(Labbe) is wrong on doing this. What are we supposed to do? This is football season, and this is in our blood in this town.”
This displaced “outrage” is baffling. The ONLY innocent victims suffering in this case are the children who were being held down and raped by their supposed teammates. You know what should be in our blood in every town? Standing up for our children and their well-being, putting our humanity before all else. Otherwise, we perpetuate a space for abusers to continue to prey on the real innocents. When we love a game more than we love the children whom the game has failed, we need to readjust priorities and wipe the slate clean. To do anything else leaves our children at risk.
Steve Politi of NJ.com states “It isn’t the victims of bullying who need to stand up to it. It’s everyone around them. The parents of the “innocent” players shouldn’t be asking Labbe why the games are cancelled, but asking their children what they knew and why they didn’t step up and say something.”
Superintendent Labbe also focused on being up-standers and not by-standers. It is a great message and we need to continue bullying education, but it’s not that simple. There are many reasons why a by-stander of a sexual assault is different than a by-stander of bullying. These reasons are based in a culture that shrouds sexual violence in a cloak of silence, shame, guilt, embarrassment and fear. By-standers of sexual assault not only fear that they might be next, or ostracized if they tell, they also have to worry about being believed or supported. The most categorically ignored and most gravely misunderstood, however, is the by-stander who is silenced and paralyzed by his own previous abuse. 1 in 4 girls and 1 in 6 boys are sexually victimized before they are 18 because we don’t have protective systems in place.
Victims and by-standers are taught to maintain their silence, like millions before them, because no one gave them a safe space to speak their truth. No one provided them a place to be supported, where justice is served and where healing can commence. We have to be honest about how our current disconnected, victim-blaming culture breeds parents who complain about a game being cancelled when childrens’ lives are being irreparably altered. With such a myopic, skewed worldview, how can we be expected to raise a new generation of kids that WON’T WANT to play football (or any other sport for that matter) alongside teammates who brutalize and commit such heinous acts? We have to stop glorifying the institutionalized notion that “boys will be boys”.
We have to stop normalizing ritualized abuse in the name of team ”bonding”. We have to talk openly about and confront the realities of sexual violence in our country. We have to challenge complicit silence surrounding sexual assault. We have to stop perpetuating the sexual abuse epidemic by use of dismissive language and actions which validate and strengthen those who abuse our children. We have to admit that our cycle of denial and ignorance is breaking full generations of human beings. We have to do better." http://jennifershewmaker.com/2014/10/10/4102/
My personal two cents added;
There is too much focus on football in many public schools throughout the nation. This situation is not limited to Sayreville, NJ but applies to most towns and cities throughout the U.S., children being urged to don the gladiator football uniform and put winning above all else. Hazing rituals are becoming increasingly violent and sexually degrading as the football fervor and focus on winning increases. There seems to be some parallels between football fascism and the pseudo-patriotic militaristic culture of unending wars.
This culture of "Football Ueber Alles" (Football Above All) results in the predicted reactions by parents to the suspension of the football season in that school. Instead of expressing outrage and sadness at the crimes committed against the victims, these parents are angry that they can't just go back to "business as usual". What about some public anger against the mysteriously absent Coach who was responsible for the kids welfare during this regular ordeal? Where was the victorious coach of Sayreville War Memorial HS while the young freshman players were being forcibly fingered in their ass and then made to lick it off? Reading the latest Sports Illustrated?
What is the benefit to football players who are urged to collide helmets at risk of concussion, lifelong brain damage or even death? How can football players concentrate on their classes when their head is still buzzing from an impact with another player? All the victory goes to the coach while the players injure one another and now are participating in a cycle of sodomy and sexual degradation in locker room hazing rituals?
Society teaches kids that school is important, yet "geeks", "nerds" and others who do well in school are bullied while those who star in football are paraded around as the ultimate heroes? When football players struggling through class with concussion symptoms are given the green light despite near failing, they learn that education isn't so important after all. This is the patriotic values systems of U.S. culture while European soccer isn't far behind. These sports gladiators with their lack of education replaced by team training and obedience are now perfect candidates for military recruitment.
Any wonder Sayreville War Memorial football champs are also most likely to join the military following graduation? There's the chance of college football scholarships for the top athletes, though many are rejected and then targeted by the military recruiters. Just what we need, more cannon fodder for created wars and gladiator soldiers ready to follow their marching orders off to their future disfigurement/death/disability from occupational warfare.
Superintendent Lappe did the correct thing by cancelling the entire football season, acknowledging that the problem is systemic. This also after another coach was arrested for having steroids in his vehicle. So Lappe knows that he bears some responsibility in the local school culture that places football above everything and everyone else. The coach has a great winning record and that is all that matters to some parents. Maybe these parents should get a life of their own instead of living through their kids. Try swimming across the Raritan maybe! There is a lady over age 60 who swam from Cuba to Florida, so with enough training anything is possible.
Kids should play sports for fun, not to be trained as future gladiators. Parents who lack empathy for the suffering of freshman boys who were forcibly sodomized by their older teammates and only care about the season continuing are teaching their kids to become sociopaths. When the winning of a football team takes priority over the large scale sexual violations of young boys, the best term would be "football fascism."
"Your fascist attitudes, we need the least..."
-Agnostic Front http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qPa2rzrl5lI