Header image credit to CBC news. Portions of this article have been taken from CBC News’ original report of the incident in 2016 by Tricia Lo.
It was an uneventful night for Arnaud Nimenya, James Hielema, Starlyn Rivas-Perez, and Carsyn Wright—that is, before they all made the decision to save a young girl from being sexually assaulted and chase down the perpetrator.
These four friends were enjoying an evening in an underground parkade at Chinook Mall in Calgary when they saw a well-dressed, older man carrying what appeared to be an intoxicated and distraught young woman.
“She was screaming and yelling. She just wanted to be out of there. She was all scuffed up and dirty,” said Carsyn Wright, one of the longboarders.
The four friends acted on their intuition, stopping the man and questioning him to see if the young girl was safe. He answered the group’s questions with a cover story, saying he was going to contact the girl’s father for a ride home. The man then took the distressed young woman into a nearby stairwell, while the group, believing him, let them go.
“You don’t want to really think of the worst in somebody like that. You don’t want that situation to be real, so you just brush it off and hope for the best,” Wright said to reporters after the event.
The four friends rode off, only to decide to check on the young girl and her captor within a few minutes. When they returned, they saw the man sexually assaulting the young woman.
“He had her in a stairwell, bent over, and just, it was disgusting,” Wright said.
Arnaud Nimenya said his initial reaction was one of shock. “You walk in, and you see something like that, and you freeze. You don’t know what to do.”
They immediately sprang into action, realizing what was happening within moments of finding the girl and her now attacker.
“He was trying to walk out and walk away from us,” said Nimenya in the CBC News report. “He pushed me aggressively out of the way, kinda like just gives me the smile, like, ‘I can do this. You can’t do anything about it.'”
Instead of letting him get away, three of the skateboarders chased him down, while one remained behind to stay with the victim. Following the foot chase, there was a physical confrontation in which the man picked up a longboard and began to attack his three pursuers.
Police arrived moments later, arrested the man and charged him with sexual assault. The teens were officially recognized by the city for their heroic efforts.
The realities of sexual assault
On average, there are more than 320,000 victims of sexual assault each year in the United States alone. These stats are beyond devastating, especially when only 5 out of every 1,000 perpetrators of assault will end up in prison.
This is why it can be extremely heartening to hear a story about a victim who actually did get justice against her attacker after four teen boys rescued her during the assault. Cool, right?
But stop for a moment, and consider this: what if this same scenario was written up and played out as a porn script? With one quick Google search using keywords from the above news story, these results from porn sites show up on the first page:
Drunk Old Bastard Sexually Assaulted Teen Girl
“No other sex tube is more popular and features more drunk assault scenes than Pornhub!”
2 Nasty Boys Sexually Assault Sleeping Drunk Teen After Party
Three Guys F— A Drunk Girl In Amateur Group Sex Orgy
And these are just the less explicit results we’re able to put here.
Keep in mind that Pornhub received over 33.5 billion site visits in 2018—equivalent to the entire populations of Canada, Australia, and Poland visiting every single day—with over 207,000 videos viewed every minute on the site. Remember, this is just one popular porn site.
It’s becoming clear that, generally, the same society that rightly hails these teens as heroes for their rescuing efforts also supports an industry that profits from fantasized versions of the teen girl’s real nightmare. See the inconsistencies, here?
We can’t turn a blind eye to porn
The bottom line here is that if we want to truly tackle societal issues like sexual abuse, then we can’t turn a blind eye to porn.
We aren’t saying that porn is to blame for attacks and assaults like the young girl’s, though we have to collectively take a much-needed look in the places where such behavior is normalized, and even promoted. The same kind of behavior these teens stopped this predator from doing is fantasized and easily accessible for anyone with wifi to watch. How is that acceptable, and even celebrated, in a world that strives to be free from sexual assault?
Just as people in all roles within society are increasingly held to account for their words, actions, and behavior, porn should be too. How is forced sex with drunk teens acceptable in porn simply because it’s marketed under the guise of a fetish? How can “gangbang” be a top search term in porn and there’s no outrage? Stigma or no, porn gets away with completely unacceptable content, research shows that it contributes to huge issues we’re facing today, and it’s time we talked about it.
Let’s all work to make conversations about the proven harmful effects of porn as normal as good guys saving people from sexual assault. That’s the kind of world we want to live in—you with us?