In previous articles, we explore how we need to expand our sense of who assailants are. Many of us, inspired by cinema, books and other pop culture influences, have an image of those who commit violent crime.
Close your eyes and imagine what a violent criminal.
Now, as we are increasingly aware, attackers come from various classes, genders, sizes, and ages. It is the latter category that we are exploring here.
From mid-August to early October in 2012, 16 women reported a man assaulting them in the Bloor and Christie neighbourhood. After intensive investigation, the police arrested him after he attacked a woman from behind and assaulted her.
A 15-year-old boy, who, someone later disclosed, had attended and offered ostensible support at a rally protesting this horrible series of assaults he had committed.
The most frequent public reaction I noted was a relief. The police arrested the perpetrator.
The second? Shock that the accused was 15 years old.
Reports had revealed the assumption that the attacker at large was an adult. The prospect that the serial assailant was a teen, especially a young teen, did not seem to occur to anyone. It didn’t fit peoples’ sense of who would commit such brutal acts.
When it comes to violent assaults, we need to expand our parameters of who is capable of such acts.