Walking to Ice Skating lessons with my three year old, we often pass groups of teenagers hanging around the doors. There are two schools on either side of this recreation centre and they seem to love to hang out there between classes.
Today while walking in, I spotted a group of teenagers. At least seven boys. ONE GIRL. Two of these boys were slapping the girl on the bum, HARD. You could hear the sound of it through her clothes! She was saying "ouch" and "Don't" all the while trying to push her back against the wall so they couldn't hit her anymore, but there were 2 boys doing it on both sides of her while the other 5 plus boys ignored them.
I said something, actually I yelled. I yelled "Stop that!", "It is not okay to hit her!". Their response? "Its a joke – wait you're a joke! Go inside and mind your own business". I yelled back "there is nothing funny about this, it's not a joke. It's not okay to hit her". I then asked how the rest of them could just stand there and watch? One of them yelled that they couldn't stop anyone from doing what they want.
I was shaking from how upsetting the situation was – I'm still feeling enraged and hurting for this girl. I walked inside, found someone and told them what I had just witnessed.
Continuing on to skating lessons, I got my daughter ready and onto the ice with her skating teacher, and looked over to see 3 men over at the doors watching the group. Walking over I tell them that I was the one who reported the incident. They replied "We were told there was a complaint about some bullying", "There is nothing we can do". "They are all friends, and besides she isn't leaving!" I looked at these men in disbelief and over their reasoning, telling them that it isn't just bullying.This looks like sexual assult! And How could she leave with these "friends" when there were SEVEN of them?! I finally just walked away.
I want to grab that girl and tell her they are not her friends. I want to tell her that I was her in highschool, that this happened to me.
I want to ask these boys if their mothers would be okay finding out that they were "just joking" and slapping a girl on the butt? If they would be okay with their sister being treated like this?
I want this girl to ask herself if her parents would think it was okay for her "friends" to hit her on the butt? Friends that are MUCH larger than her.
I want her to see she is stronger, wiser, better, MORE than this…
Now imagine this same group of friends is at a party, not in public. NOW imagine what this would look like, or what it could turn into. This needs to change. People need to step out, be the voice, be the change. WE need to. What if it was your child?
After this was published, we received a message from another witness. Here is their story of what happened AFTER the events described above.
"On Monday March 10th I parked in the parking lot, opened my door, and a couple guys screaming and yelling. Standing by the van door I saw a bunch of boys surrounding a girl, screaming and yelling at her. I immediately called the Red Deer Colicutt to inform the security that there were boys screaming at a girl, and that I could hear them across the parking lot. That's when 3 more guys arrived one on pedal bikes. I told the security that they needed to address this immediately as it was not safe for me or my young daughter to walk into the building.
I started to head inside after I saw someone headed out from the building, when one of the boys started screaming again. The girl had gone inside after being told to go in. I went to security and told them they need to be off the property, that they were scaring my young child and myself, and that any sort of bullying needs to be addressed! I informed them that if I saw any hitting I would be calling the RCMP about this is unacceptable behaviour. After waiting a bit with the security a few of the guys went away, and I was informed that the boss was coming down to kick them off the property. They had 3 complaints about this situation."
THREE complaints, nothing done. What is there to do, and who do you call when you're the only one not staying silent?