OP/ED: Castlegar parents: WAKE UP!

Kyra Hoggan
By Kyra Hoggan
May 26th, 2011

Even before I ever heard of this whole ‘LG’ thing happening in our high school, I was asking cops, firefighters, Community Services staff, etc., “Is it just me, or is there a ridiculously disproportionate degree of sexual deviance among the young people in this region?”


Despite asking the question over and over and over again, I only ever received one of two responses: either, “I’ve lived here all my life, so I can’t really judge,” or, “Absolutely. It’s horrible.”

I was asking because so many stories have crossed my desk involving young people and criminally deviant sexual behaviours such as sexual assault, attempted sexual assault, possession of child pornography … far more than I saw even in Calgary when it boasted a population of 1,000,000. It’s been ongoing and relentless, since the day I arrived here more than four years ago – and I’m far from being the only person who has noticed it.
So why the hell isn’t anyone talking about it?
Do we really believe that it’s someone else’s problem, or that it’ll just go away if we ignore it? Are we really that stupid?
I went to a meeting regarding the city’s Official Community Plan last night – it’s comprehensive, talking about everything from food security to bicycle stands – people got angry and up in arms over urban chickens, but no one seemed to give a damn that there wasn’t a whisper about what I perceive to be the single greatest problem facing Castlegar today. Nobody said a word about it.
Our children are raping each other, degrading themselves, and abusing substances along the way – grown men, our neighbours and coworkers, are helping them do it – but problem-solving around that isn’t worth even a footnote in our Official Community Plan?
Where the hell are our priorities?
My son starts high school next year, and will be hanging out with these kids, exposed to this sub-culture … you can bet the farm we’ll be having many, many conversations about the ‘LG’ culture, now and in the years to come.
Parents in Castlegar/Trail – in fact, all adults in the region – have so totally dropped the ball, it’s sickening. This is a problem so revolting, so damaging and so massive in scope that, until we’ve achieved some resolution, we should be talking about little else.
But it’s incredibly uncomfortable, so we cover our ears, close our eyes and mouths, and pray for the best. What does that say about us, as individuals, as parents, and as a community?
Perhaps more distressing than the Facebook manual itself are the myriad young people who think it’s hilarious, who insist it’s “just a joke”.
Since when is referring to little girls as “prey” and “the specimen”, and teaching men how to target the most vulnerable among them, funny? That’s so utterly beyond sick, I’m at a loss for words. And these are so-called “good” kids, neither low-functioning nor obviously maladjusted.
And anyone who thinks this sub-culture is not the precursor to violent, criminal acts is so naïve it’s a wonder they don’t fall down more.
Watch or read the final interview with Ted Bundy, 17 hours before he was executed in 1989. You can Google it. He talks about exactly this stuff when describing his own descent into his role as one most vile, prolific sexually-sadistic serial killers of our time – overuse of hardcore porn leading to desensitization and a need for increasing deviance to achieve arousal, the utter dehumanization of his victims, etc.
The words are eerily familiar: “prey”, “target”,  “specimen”. Ring any bells?
What’s it going to take for us to wake up and start doing something? Do we need to spawn our own, Castlegar-born Bundy before we get our heads out of the sand?
Maybe we could face a court case similar to a current case in which a 16-year-old girl just outside of Vancouver was gang-raped, with the photos being posted on Facebook after. If that happened in Castlegar, would we feel we’d done enough about the deviance of which we’re already aware, and have been for years?
How about mass teen suicides like we saw in Airdrie, Alta., about 15 years ago? Will that get our attention? Perhaps a Columbine copycat scenario with a girl as the gunman.
You should be asking yourself, right now, how bad it has to get before you are willing to stand up and demand action, of yourself and all those around you.
Because it’s not just the kids who are the problem. That a man could speak of “road head”, from a child, openly among a group of other men and NOT get the living crap beaten out of him before being hauled off to jail … that  says something about the culture we’re choosing to accept.
The punks who wrote ‘Deflowered in seconds’ repeatedly referred to little girls as ‘prey’, but when I characterized them in a Facebook post as ‘sexual predators’, I was chastised for being melodramatic . By grown-ups.
How else would you define ‘sexual predator’, especially when they openly, even gleefully, define themselves that way?
Common sense – not to mention common decency – should tell us all that this issue outstrips all others – it’s bigger than ultrasound machines and Canucks playoffs, and it’s certainly more pivotal than urban chickens.
It’s time for Castlegarians to get our priorities straight.
Because this is no laughing matter.

Categories: GeneralHealthOp/Ed