Monday, October 16, 2006

Trained to ignore screams

There are these teenagers who float near my block. This weekend it was two girls and a boy and they were horsing and hovering around. Their desired form of entertainment was screaming and yelling at each other along with hair pulling, choke holds, and hitting. The girls would frequently emit these loud piercing screams, that elsewhere would signal a need for help, but here was just screaming for screaming sake. Observing the teens the girls weren't in any obvious danger because they wouldn't stay away from the boy who was leading the dangerous violent play. The girls kept staying around him. But they kept with the screaming.
It dawned on me that by them engaging in the screaming and the playing "domestic violence" game they are getting those of us who are hearing them and seeing them, to ignore them, which is dangerous. It makes an environment where one can hear a woman screaming that "help me, I need help" kind of scream and ignore it because most of the time it's been kids horsing around. It could also get one to dismiss real domestic violence that may play itself out in the street.


At 10/16/2006 7:59 PM, Blogger dc gal said...

Mari-Yeah, yet another one of the sad goings on in our city. :(

At 10/17/2006 7:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

As the East Central Civic Association lectures us monthly, we must learn to respect and celebrate these diversities in expressiveness.

At 10/17/2006 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that you have really hit on a really important issue. I
don't when or where that this behavior(do they have health class anymore?) should be discussed, but for the sake of the kids. it really should be.


At 10/17/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Oh I'm sure they have health class but to what extent domestic violence is covered or even touched at all, I don't know. I'm not even sure people believe that teenagers can commit and be victims of Ike vs Tina type domestic violence, particularly when the parties don't live together.
Their 'play' skirts too close to real violence.

At 10/19/2006 5:46 PM, Blogger Erica said...

I have had this same concern when walking home from work. There are often teenagers playing around and screaming in the parking lot between 5th and 6th and M and N. The screams are piercing enough that I instinctively look over to see if someone needs help but it is usually people who appear to be enjoying themselves.

I worry that I will ignore someone in need of actual help one day because I've learned to ignore such screams.

At 10/20/2006 7:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While you make a good point, the one time I heard someone being attacked it was very clear that it was someone screaming for their life. Until I experienced that I might have had the same doubts about being able to tell the difference between "playing" and real fear. When it came there was absolutely no doubt that the blood curdling screeching I could hear was someone suffering a very serious assault.

At 10/20/2006 7:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

ps I should point out, that attack took place in the much more dangerous neighborhood of Adams Morgan, and not in Shaw, Truxton, Bloomingdale or Ledroit.

At 10/20/2006 9:22 PM, Blogger Mari said...

Please claim the posting. I don't like a lot of anon posts. Give it initials, yours or someone else's.

At 10/22/2006 9:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just this friday I ran into a bunch of kids beating on a girl in the alley on 10th between O and P. They were kids, but there were about 12 of them mostly boys around 15 or so. the strange thing was that the girl was not making a sound, she was just taking the kicks and punches. I called the cops and it took about 10 minutes for them to show, but by then the kids were gone. I ran into them around the corner, and the girl that was being beaten had her arms wrapped around one of the boys who had been kicking her. They were groping and kissing like nothing had happened.

Very bizzare.

At 10/23/2006 11:01 AM, Anonymous Yt said...

I was on the Metro last weekend coming back from the Brookland/CUA area and four young well dressed/attractiive 15 or so year old black girls got on the train and started mocking two mild mannered young well groomed hispanic boys. The girls called them "you loco-" plus various other spanglish/english terms, screaming with laughter the whole time until the hispanic young men got off the train, without bothering to respond or escalate the trouble.

It really just made me realize how disconnected some young people are with at time less than fifty years ago when racist white folks jeered and harrassed (and worse) African Americans and others with little fear or sense that they might be doing something wrong.

On one hand, these were just kids being kids, and may well have been just doing some weird flirtation dance with the young men to keep their attention. On the other hand, it could be a very stark example of how some people aren't taught to be civilized and respectful of others despite their race or class.

At 10/23/2006 11:29 AM, Blogger Mari said...

Kids on the train, or on the bus, or in the street, at times like to demonstrate how stupid and ignorant they can be. Think of it as edgy street theater.


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