Children must learn limits to freedom

The recent case of the alleged rape on Evia – which has become known nationwide as the Amarynthos case after the name of the town where it is said to have happened – made it very clear that certain crucial things are lacking in this society: reliable authorities, proper manners, a modern approach toward education and respect for the law. The distorted mirror of the media has simply served to confirm all the above and to make us feel thoroughly ashamed of ourselves. And developments only darken the picture further. Lawyers are stepping all over each other in their eagerness to get involved in the case, which promises massive exposure and large rewards if it works out for them. Local teachers are reluctant to show their faces and are pretending they were somewhere else when the alleged rape occurred. The state is once again radiant in its absence; this is evident in the fact that no social worker has been appointed to look after the boys alleged to have carried out the rape and to counsel the other schoolchildren who will doubtlessly carry the scars of this incident for the rest of their lives. But the local population is also worthy of condemnation for it is acting as if nothing significant has happened and as if the girl had «wanted it» anyway. Perhaps the most enlightening aspect of all is the confession of a schoolgirl who had the almost inhuman sang-froid to film what happened on her mobile phone. «I regret being led astray by my curiosity and the excitement around me,» she allegedly told police. Shouldn’t those who witnessed this event admit their shame? Shouldn’t at least one of them have made an effort to try and stop what happened? No one should condemn children from the provinces for wanting to realize their sexual fantasies – they have the right to this but they do not appear to have any understanding of the need for limits. The chief concern in this whole affair is the fear that our children have not grasped the importance of respect for the integrity and the individuality of their fellow human beings. But how are the children to learn this if teachers, parents and other authority figures, who could teach them these values, are either indifferent or actually fearful of insisting on the enforcement of these principles of respect and coexistence?

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