Some girls say no. Some boys don’t listen.
When Grace meets Ian, she’s afraid. Afraid he’ll reject her like the rest of the school, like her own family. After she accuses Zac, the town golden boy, of rape, everyone turns against her. Ian wouldn’t be the first to call her a slut and a liar.
Except Ian doesn’t reject her. He’s the one person who looks past the taunts and the names and the tough-girl act to see the real Grace. He’s the one who gives her the courage to fight back.
He’s also Zac’s best friend.
Patty Blount works as a software technical writer by day and novelist by night. Dared by her 13-year-old son to try fiction, Patty wrote her first manuscript in an ice rink. A short version of her debut novel, Send, finished in the top ten of the Writer’s Digest 79th Annual Writing Competition.
People always ask me where I got the idea to write a story like Some Boys and it’s no secret – it came from the news, from headlines like Steubenville and Maryville and dozens of other towns where a crime became a sensational spectator sport, played not on a field but online. It seems like pretty much everything that’s happening in the world these days is treated like sport. Elections, war, even the weather – we grab our phones, shoot some video, and post it all online where people can Like it, Share it, or Comment on it, taking sides and talking trash.
Do these posts disturb you? They infuriate me. It seems like every day, I find a video on one of my social networks that shows a group of several witnesses standing by while someone is teased, taunted, shoved, beaten and even raped. Rather than use the phone in their hands to summon help, they instead record video of it, post it online to invite the inevitable trolls to feast on the humiliation.
Here’s one: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=l93wAqnPQwk
Here’s another: http://www.wtae.com/news/high-school-assault-caught-on-tape/25027154#!brJTnZ Do you hear what the spectators are shouting?
We’re raising a generation of crime fans and I suppose that’s the reason I wrote Some Boys – to put something in front of you that should anger and disgust and hopefully, inspire you to change the ways you think about and discuss some hard issues. I believe we really do have a ‘rape culture’ in America but I also think most of us don’t fully appreciate what that means or how we contribute to it. I hope parents will sit down with their teen readers and use this story to have real conversations about some tough topics like consent and victim-blaming and masculinity and loyalty.
In the Maryville case, the victim has suffered unimaginable harassment since going public with accounts of her ordeal. She’s been called names online, run off the road and even had her house burned down. Yes, she’s since attempted suicide more than once.
Parents, please don’t hand your teens a box of technology and walk away. This is why we have so many of those viral videos. Teens don’t understand the permanence or the reach of the internet. They think that because it’s not their hands on the victim, that they have no responsibility and therefore, no blame. Explain internet safety. Teach teens to protect themselves. Teach them never to post anything online when they’re emotional. Encourage your teens to think before they post. Know your children’s passwords and what accounts they have. Make sure you know what they’re doing online.
The children in these videos could be yours.