California Teenager Who Committed Suicide After Rape and Bullying Marched at President Obama’s 2008 Inauguration

Audrie Pott

Audrie Pott

Another poignant detail has come out about Audrie Pott, the Saratoga, CA teenager who committed suicide after being gang raped by three boys at a house party while she was unconscious. The perpetrators took pictures of themselves sexually abusing Audrie and later posted them on-line and circulated them among her classmates.

A 15-year-old Saratoga girl who killed herself after photos circulated of her alleged sexual assault was “tormented” and “tortured” in the days before her death, her family’s attorney said Friday.

On Thursday, authorities announced three 16-year-old boys had been arrested on suspicion of sexually battering Audrie Pott, a Saratoga Union High School sophomore, according to reports.

An attorney representing Pott’s family told The Times the alleged attack occurred at what the teenager thought would be a “small little gathering” at a friend’s house last fall. The friend’s parents were out of town, attorney Robert Allard said, and the girls started drinking some sort of alcohol mixed with Gatorade. Soon, Allard said, “word spread there was a party at this house.”

Pott had gone upstairs early to sleep, but when she woke up the next day, she “recognized immediately that something terrible had happened,” Allard said.

At least one picture depicting the sexual assault was circulated among her peers, Allard said. Pott later posted on Facebook that “the whole school knows” and “my life is like ruined now,” Allard said.

Pott killed herself in September, about a week after the alleged attack.

Yesterday, Michael Daly reported at The Daily Beast that at age 11, Audrie marched in President Obama’s first inauguration parade with her middle school band.

“The President’s young daughters waved and cheered loudest for [this] group as all the other performers were so much older,” says a Pott family online posting about the Redwood Middle School’s moment in history.

At fifteen, Audrie committed suicide, eight days after a group of boys she thought were her friends allegedly gang raped her while she was unconscious and distributed at least one photo from the attack online.

“My life is like ruined now,” Audrie announced to the internet prior to hanging herself.

That was last September, four months before a 15-year-old from Chicago named Hadiya Pendleton performed as a majorette with her high school at Obama’s second inauguration. She was killed a week later, when a teen fired wildly in the direction of her and a group of her friends, mistakenly believing they were associated with a rival gang.

With the deaths of these two 15-year-olds, each of whom had played a part in an inauguration, a challenge now marches past the Capitol and the White House and every place on past in this country where laws are made, along with every school and home. The challenge for us all is to find better ways to protect our kids, be it from gun violence or from sexual violence.

Police took their sweet time getting around to arresting the monsters who tormented this beautiful young girl, and now her family and supporters are worried that they may have destroyed evidence of their crimes over the months it took law enforcement to “investigate.”

Rehtaeh Parsons

Rehtaeh Parsons

You have to wonder why these arrests followed so closely on the shocking reports of a similar gang rape in Halifax, Nova Scotia followed by bullying and the suicide of victim Rehtaeh Parsons–as well as the Steubenville rape case. It certainly appears that police only acted after the media picked up the story and public outrage ensued.

Michael Daly is right. President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama should lead the way in raising consciousness of rape culture along with their fight to prevent gun violence. These two young girls were driven to their deaths by the cruelty and inhumanity that surrounded them.

What is wrong with our society when young girls can be treated as objects to be used and thrown away and when the law enforcement and school authorities who are supposed to protect children choose to protect the perpetrators of these horrible crimes instead of the victims? Nothing will change until women are seen as full human beings with feelings and dreams and their own goals for the future–and the right to pursue happiness in their own way. The anti-abortion movement has a lot to do with perpetuating the notion that girls and women should not be able to make their own choice about their bodies and their lives.