Jaleesa Vickers, 20, a participant in the YO! Youth Outlook media project, shares her views on the recent gang rape of a 15-year-old in Richmond, CA:

Rape is a very big deal to me. If it isn't a big deal to you, then you need to rethink about how you feel about it. It is a very selfish act that dehumanizes people, and whoever even has the slightest thought of doing such a thing to another person is truly sick.

Rape destroys the spirit, almost beyond repair. It baffles me that those boys could do that to the victim, let alone think it was fun, as if it all were a game. I'm curious as to what they were trying to prove to themselves, or to each other. I know it may not be possible, but because of the nature of the crime, they should all be tried as adults…

A lot of people may say that these young men don't desire to be alive, which they don't, but I think otherwise. Death is too good for them, and is the easy way out. They need to stay alive behind bars for the rest of their natural lives to have all the time in the world to live with the guilt and shame that came along with what they did.

The rape incident that happened in Richmond was a very sad one. It makes me feel hurt – I feel very bad about it. I feel sorry for the victim, but I also feel sorry for the people who did it. These young men make me embarrassed to be a part of this generation; it appalls me that people like that exists in the world.

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This youth perspective on the recent Richmond, CA gang rape is part of a series produced by Youth Outlook, a project of New America Media. This work was originally published Oct. 29, 2009. Republished and reformatted as a series on Oakland Local with permission.

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