Saturday, May 28, 2011

Why I worry: Escapades of Daughters

Bee and bug in the backyard.

My friend calls us today. She has a daughter a year younger than my own, in the local junior high school. Her daughter, HZ, has a friend, AC. And AC has a friend too, one she met on the internet, Mr Wang Yo.

One day after many chats Mr. Wang Yo proposes to this 14 year old girl that she meet him at a designated 7-11, in her school uniform but sans bra and underwear. "I'll take you to a hotel," he promises.

Excited, AC quickly informs her friends in class, who tell her that this idea is really really dumb. Notwithstanding their appalled objections, AC then is able organize all her classmates -- some to follow her, and some to call her at designated intervals. Notwithstanding their appalled objections, they all agree to do this. Nobody tells their mother or their teacher that AC is meeting a very sick man at 7-11 for illegal sex acts, and the girls in class conceal it from the boys.

The appointed day arrives and AC is waiting at the 7-11, as instructed, a posse of her girlfriends in tow, and others waiting to call her on her cellphone at 15 minute intervals. Mr Wang Yo shows up in a car and she gets in.

HZ's appointed turn to call comes up, and she dials up her friend AC, now in Mr Wang Yo's car. My friend, standing in the kitchen as her daughter is dialing in to this little drama, listens to one very weird phone call. When HZ got off, her mother, one of the toughest and smartest people I know, demands to know what the heck that call was about. After much hemming and hawing, HZ confessed to the plot.

My friend swung into action, and alerted AC's mother. The police were called in. Fourteen year olds are not the best witnesses. Everyone had a cell phone, but nobody thought to get a picture of Mr Wang Yo or his vehicle. Two girls had the presence of mind to record the plate number of the car; one wrote it down wrong and the other wrote down the number correctly but the police later found it didn't exist. The plate was a fake.

The mother called AC again and again for three hours as she rode around in the car with Mr Wang Yo. She repeatedly refused to get out of the car with a strong bu yao! Finally, Mr Wang Yo dumped her on a corner in the science park nearby.

Luckily a policeman came along as the girl was wandering around the science park, and took her back to the local police station, where she was eventually reunited with her mother.

The next day in class this event was handled with the usual ineptitude and lack of concern for victims that seems to characterize teacher-student interactions locally. AC's teacher described what happened to the whole class, identifying AC and reaming her out in front of everyone. The boys in the class quickly learned what had happened and AC became the butt of their bullying and abuse. She was shamed in front of the whole school. This caused the girls to rally round her and extend her their sympathy, which may have been AC's motivation for the whole exercise, since AC was an unpopular girl not part of any clique, who got poor grades, and probably enjoyed all the attention.

The affair was concluded when Mr Wang Yo called AC's mom to apologize, saying he had a wife and kids too. And, by  phoning them, letting them know he had their phone number and probably could easily find out where they lived.

This tale took place against a terrifying background. Just this week a horrible tale of rape-murder emerged. Three teenage boys had taken three girls to a secluded place, killed one and then threated the other two into silence. For three years. Finally, after years of depression, they told their tale and the budding young sociopath was arrested.

Somehow there has to be a way to educate women of that age that this world is full of predators.
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Anonymous said...

What a bunch of morons... but, for a change the problem is completely with the girl here, you can't blame the bridge if somebody really really wants to jump from it.

MJ Klein said...

so if the deed was done, then the police have a DNA sample, or are they that incompetent?

insectlin said...

Gosh, I thought Taiwan might be safer for my daughter. I think I am just plainly wrong.

Scaring, really scaring.

Jenna said...

that is thoroughly horrifying...

Dixteel said...

Hmm...interesting. I am surprised that girls can trust others so easily. Some proper education is required indeed.

Jenna said...

anonymous - seriously? You are comparing a perverted sicko who convinced a fourteen year old girl to join him, sans undergarments, in a car, to an inert object who had nothing to do with anything? Really?

You make it sound as though this girl, completely of her own volition, sought out an older man with a predilection for jailbait and his own persuasions had nothing to do with it. She would never have gotten into that car if the man had not "proposed" to her and been just as much a part of arranging the whole thing. He's the adult, she's a 14-year-old girl: who is supposed to be more mature, more socially responsible, more mindful, a tween who has little real world experience or maturity or him, the adult? How can you say he's faultless and she's to blame?

Do you think it's perfectly OK that he's some sicko who seeks out young girls online (how else did they find each other? Do you really believe she sought him out? Even if she did, it's his fault for going down that road) and it's entirely her fault that she fell for it?

Sure, she should have been educated to know the dangers of these things, although many parents in Taiwan (and elsewhere) are skittish about talking about such important issues, and she should have the presence of mind to know it was a horrible idea. Her friends should have been similarly prescient, but come on, they're schoolgirls! They're not adults! They lack the experience, maturity and foresight that adults have.

Seriously, your comment makes me ill inside. As though a young girl should deserve the entirety of the blame for the actions of a disgusting pervert. It's a very fine line between this and "she deserved it", and I just can't accept that.

And I am surprised that no other commenters have reamed you out for it already.

Anonymous said...

Anon at the top.

I agree with Jenna. There are reasons why juveniles are classified as such under the law. Their inexperience and lack of many of the powers which are available to adults make them vulnerable to pressures that can be wielded against them. For instance, a juvenile without the ability to earn a living can more easily fall prey to a pedophile who offers symbols of affluence that employment can offer. A teen girl who is limited to the allowance and whims of her working parents may feel pressured to perform sex acts to gain coveted objects like handbags, sunglasses and jewelry. This is entirely about an imbalance of power and an adult's willingness to exploit that power. To a child who must rely on her parents or mass transit to get to the mall, a man with a car can be an attractive proposition.

John Scott said...

Having some small degree of familiarity with how junior high schools are run in Taiwan, I can't say I am surprised at the way the situation was handled by the school and the teachers, but it is still appalling.

Clearly, good, old-fashioned punishment is the No. 1 objective of the school, along with making the girl in question an example of failure for the other students who still have a chance of becoming well-adjusted members of society. Consideration for the emotional state and future social development of the girl in question is not a priority. That is the saddest part of this story. Instead, she is useful to the school only as a model of what NOT to be.

Of course, the girl did a very stupid thing and obviously needs some patient counselling , but it seems that the people around her are blaming her-- the victim.

Instead of finding ways to show compassion and counter the worst tendencies of teenage bullying and peer-pressure, the school chooses to encourage and condone those negative tendencies as part of their moral rectification campaign. So sad.

The school is showing that "bad girls" like her can be blamed for their fate, and need not be treated with basic respect and dignity by society. Not so hard, then, to understand why pedofiles like the man in question can find ways to justify hunting them. Maybe the girl's male classmates will do the same thing when they are middle-aged, because they never learned empathy and basic respect for human dignity in school.

Readin said...

Obviously both were at fault. The man was a pervert with no regard for chivalry, law, or the well-being of a young lady. The girl's behavior wasn't just stupid it was immoral by the standards of every civilized society probably most uncivilized societies too.

Anonymous at the top was so wrong and so out-of-line I suspect he was just a troll. But in reaction some here have leaned too far the other way by pretending the girl was a completely innocent victim.

Really, "For instance, a juvenile without the ability to earn a living can more easily fall prey to a pedophile who offers symbols of affluence that employment can offer"? Even a 14-year-old knows what a whore is.

"The school is showing that 'bad girls' like her can be blamed for their fate, and need not be treated with basic respect and dignity by society." Perhaps the first failure to treaty her with dignity and respect was when the failed to respect her dignity enough to teach her right from wrong. Too often our society treats sex as a simply animal behavior little different from eating, going to the bathroom, playing volleyball or having a coffee.

Readin said...

Do teach your kids to be careful. When I was a young teen-ager and a twenty-something year old guy drove by my house, saw me outside and asked directions for the swimming pool, then pretended not to understand the directions and suggested I go get my swimming trunks and get in his car and show him the way (of course he would pay for admission) it was that old "don't take candy from a stranger" ringing in my head that played big part in keeping me away from him. And the fact that I had been bullied enough also helped persuade me to keep my distance.

It's hard to even imagine what would have happened to me if I had gotten in that car.

Readin said...

insectlin wrote: "Gosh, I thought Taiwan might be safer for my daughter. I think I am just plainly wrong."

I think things don't get reported as much (easy to understand why when you consider how this girl was treated). When I was living in Taiwan (almost 20 years ago) they caught a guy at one of the parks. He forcing girls to let him take pictures of them in their underwear. Some girl reported it. They found him, and discovered at his home that he had photed hundreds of girls this way. How many reported it? Only one? Did others report it but not get taken seriously by the police?

My impression was that the police made sure any crime big enough to make the newspapers would be dealt with swiftly, and someone would be arrested for it. Otherwise they tended to ignore it.

Hopefully with the whole democracy/freedom of speech thing it has improved some.

Anonymous said...

14 is the new 10 or what? The guy is of course a pervert and creep. So what? Every normal girl, at 14 years knows that it's not advisable to enter a car of an older guy (without underwear, telling her mother to shut up when she calls her, etc.). This girl is either actually mentally handicapped or has some big big issues... that will lead her to become a really messed up adult.

Thoth Harris said...

You want to see bad parenting, look here at this Globe & Mail article:
I agree with this author 100%. I might even go further.
How does this relate to the topic being discussed here? This type of moral relativism, saying that everything is up to the child - it's the type of education that has been fostered in the form of "progressive" or "alternative" schools. I know, because I was a student at such an elementary shcool.
Parents and teachers exist to guide children. Children do not have the right to say "yes" to sex acts, nor do they have the "right" to determine their "gender." It is like denying or confirming reality. Reality is shaped by what is before us. It is absurd to say that, yeah, the rules are there, but they are wrong, and anybody can change them. Society is part of reality. If you want to be part of society, you have to grow up. If the rules really are wrong (in the case of gender being determined by one's biological birth, usually they aren't, but I will grant exceptions, but they should be determined by the person - AS AN ADULT, WHEN THEY ARE AN ADULT). And no, adulthood is not a construct, although I suppose it might be debatable whether it is 14, 16, 18, or 21. That is partly up to society, and we should respect that society (within limits, too, of course, because there are/have been cultures, such as Ancient Zambia or certain contemporary Islamisist culture - WHICH ARE SIMPLY WRONG.

Michael Turton said...

Of course she knew it was wrong. That's why she did it. She used the wrongness of the act and teen solidarity to manipulate her friends and prevent them from telling adults.

Anonymous said...

Scientific tests have shown that teenagers brains are growing so rapidly, especially at the frontal lobe, that there are not enough neurons connecting it to the rest of the brain. The areas controlling reasoning, planning and judgement are thus hindered preventing them from thinking through situations.

This is why they are not adults and must be dealt with as minors. This also makes them easy victims.

chinaphil said...

What a bizarre set of comments - why on earth would one want to be assigning blame? The point is not to blame person A or blame person B; the point is to get past the idea that assigning blame somehow closes the matter. This matter is not closed. It is very much a screaming and open danger.
I'm not sure Michael's right to suggest that girls need to be taught that there are predators out there. They know that. This one had long email chats with a predator and went to meet him. And the rape-murder scenario is hardly relevant. If these two people went to a nice love hotel, had consensual sex and parted with no murder or violence, would that be alright? I think not.
The problem is surely that adolescent girls are given insufficient attention and sex education; leading them to think that these nasty sex games are somehow fun or validating. And that problem isn't going to be solved very soon.
Incidentally, I sincerely hope someone tells the perpetrator's wife about this. Maybe even his colleagues and neighbors, too.

Thoth Harris said...

chinaphil's comments give no solution whatsoever, and instead he or she takes aim at us, the commenters. Now THAT is bizarre. How about dropping your icky, gooey moral relativism for a moment and try to draw some lesson from what goes on?

WhatIsThisIDontEven said...

The affair was concluded when Mr Wang Yo called AC's mom to apologize, saying he had a wife and kids too.

Only in Taiwan ...

Jenna said...

I think teenage girls do know that there are predators out there, but the knowledge is somehow "not relevant" to them in a distant "it won't happen to ME" kind of way. I do think they need to be taught that not only are there predators out there, but that it CAN happen to them. Not that it necessarily will - no need to breed paranoia - but that it is very real.

Yes, a tween grows up a lot between 14 and 10, but I think my ideas about how a 14 year old girl would have acted under the influence of this guy are accurate - I was a 14 year old girl once, too. Not a Taiwanese one, and back in the '90s, but still.

I went to sex ed class and talked with my parents. I was "aware" that there were bad people out there, but like this girl, I didn't think they were people that would be anywhere near me (I pictured them all in big cities, not my small town). I was never a victim, but the day I took a walk alone in a secluded apple orchard past migrant workers picking apples, and came home and told Mom about it like it was no big deal that I went for that walk, and she drove home the point that it *could* happen to me, I was *not* immune because we lived in a small town, and that what I did was in fact quite dangerous.

And she was right. It hadn't really hit me until then.

Readin said...

I want to retract my calling the guy a "pervert". Whether he desires young teenagers or whether that desire is perverted, the problem is not his desires; it is his behavior. So while I would like to withdraw the name-calling, I stick by my point that his actions did not show sufficient regard for "chivalry, law, or the well-being of a young lady".

Jenna said...

If he didn't have the desires, the behavior wouldn't have happened...that's not to say people don't have the right to their private desires as long as they don't act on them (in most cases, I just don't want to know what those desires might be). In cases such as these, where the safety of a minor is concerned, I'd say that the desire and the resulting behavior are too intertwined to say that one is to blame and the other is not.

Anonymous said...

We tell our children from a very early age to not walk with strangers, not take their candy, most children adhere to this and thus evade possible danger, the 1% that thinks its fun to jump into the Gorilla cage is either retarded or knew what she was doing.

If a 14 year old gets pushed into a van, etc. then that's a tragedy. If - like most victims of sexual crime - she happens to be born into a family with a sicko daddy/uncle/etc. then that damn horrible. However, if she steps into an older guys car willingly, after telling her classmates to watch, then she's a damn moron.

Readin said...

"If a 14 year old gets pushed into a van, etc. then that's a tragedy."

No, it's a crime. A "tragedy" suggests bad luck or destiny. Pushing a 14 year old into a van is a deliberate act. Are you the same anon who compared a rapist to a bridge as though the rapists is just as much a bystander to a as a bridge is to a suicide? Do you have trouble with the idea that men have free will and may at times be held accountable for the evil they do?

Readin said...

Sorry about the grammar on that last post. I meant to continue editing but hit the wrong button.

Anonymous said...

Let's not get into stupid word plays here, of course it's a crime I didn't know (and still don't think) that tragedy implies that the criminal is not guilty in this case.

Waltzin' Jaloma said...

The plot here could be a piece of badly hatched pubescent sleuth action. A nerdy AC might well have pictured herself as Nancy Drew poised to catch the dastardly villain pants down. That would also explain why she would have wanted to rely on the cooperation of her classmates as a squad of girls detectives.

That her parents failed to act upon it boggles ones mind. This animal calls the parents, tell them he could find their home through their phone number and that is it? That sounds more threatening than apologetic to me.

That young lady is very resourceful, full of imagination. She will go places. For now, less manga-browsing and more club activities won’t do harm, either.