Friday, May 3, 2013

Intimidation and High School Kids

Adolescents are sometimes thought to be exaggerations of petulant children who may have deep thoughts but are driven, for the most part, by hormones--a dangerous combination.

In Columbus, Ohio, a jury is reviewing evidence to see if two teens broke laws by tweeting intimidating threats after the Steubenville football players, Ma'Lik Richmond and Trent Mays were charged with raping a 16 year old girl.

After Ma'Lik's conviction and two year sentence in juvenile prison, his cousin tweeted:  You ripped my family apart!

The other threatened the victim with bodily harm.

Charges of intimidation of a witness and aggravated menacing were dropped and the two 16-year-olds admitted to a single misdemeanor charge of telecommunications harassment and received six months' probation, said Sara Gasser, an attorney for one of the girls.

Worse, the investigators have to determine if coaches and teachers covered up the rape.

What are we to make of this?  Depends who you ask.

Some would say that teens are learning to value winning more than justice.
We could also say that persons of influence, coaches, teachers, parents, should be more involved with what is going on in the heads (and on the phones) of their kids.
Psychologically oriented types might say that intimidation is one way of making us feel more powerful, putting someone down to feel bigger.
We would also suggest that when there is violence in the family it will likely bleed to the world beyond, to the school, to the workplace. Not that we're casting aspersions here. But it happens. Respect for women, respect for men, respect for one's self is learned in the home, first and foremost.

That would be a good start.

Linda Freedman, MSW, PhD, LCSW, LMFT