Break the Chain The Rape Petition

Exclusive (1/28/2001) It's hard to imagine a more heinous crime than the sexual assault of a child. So, it's no surprise that people are adding their name and forwarding this petition without abandon. Too bad it won't work.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

JUST DO IT
Please Read

This was sent to me... it's heartbreaking, if you can help by just adding your name at the bottom of the list and passing it on, then why not do so.....

Dear friends,

I don't ask much of you all but this is a worth while cause. No one wants to know that this has happened to there loved one. Please copy and paste your name to this list, i know you can do it.....thank you BAC

JUST A NOTE BEFORE YOU READ THE NOTE...

AS A CORRECTIONAL OFFICER IN THE FLORIDA PRISON SYSTEM (AS WELL AS A LOT THAT ARE ON MY MAILING LIST), WE CAN SYMPATHIZE WITH THIS LITTLE GIRL AND HER FAMILY. DAILY WE SEE INMATES WHO COME IN AFTER RAPING A CHILD AND STAY ONLY A YEAR, MAYBE TWO, WHEN AN INMATE COMES IN FOR A FIRST TIME DRUG POSSESSION AND HAS A 10 YEAR SENTENCE!! WHAT IS WRONG WITH SOCIETY TODAY?? WHERE ARE THE PRIORITIES OF OUR JUDICIAL SYSTEM??? I DO HOPE YOU WILL READ THIS NOTE, TAKE HEED AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT!!!

PATTI

On the 28th of October 1999, a young 12-year old girl's future was completely shattered. She was raped and almost stabbed to death. She sustained multiple stab wounds in the back, chest and stomach, as well as the face.

One of the stabs she received penetrated her spine and she is now paralyzed for life. This little girl is my (the writers) cousin. I went to see her in hospital on Friday. When I saw her, she was lying on her side and all I could see was her stitched face. Because her wounds, she is unable to find a comfortable position. When I asked her how she was doing, she whispered, "I am sore, I am sore". She asked her mother to turn her over on the other side, and as I helped her mother to do so, I saw that her whole throat was covered in the most terrible blue and deep purple bruises. Her rapist tried to shut her up when she was screaming. When that did not help, he tried to stab her to death. All I can say is, THANK GOD SHE IS ALIVE!!!!!

The reason for this email is plain and simple and corruption and discrimination is #l. No justice will be brought to this case. Give it a couple of years, and the rapist (who was caught I might add) will be out on parole in a couple of months. In the meantime, one beautiful little girl's life has been changed. Not only does she have to live with this memory, but she has to be reminded of it every single day in the form of her paralysis. I know this happens to women all over the world on an hourly basis, but this time it has hit too close to home and I cannot and I repeat CANNOT stand by and do nothing about it.

Therefore I would like your help in signing this petition for a harsher sentence for rape. Life imprisonment might be a good suggestion as, ironically enough, prisoners do not tolerate child molesters and rapists, and because of this, they have their own "system of punishment" in prison. I want this man to go through agony for the rest of his life. I want him to be reminded of the pain that this little girl has to go through for the rest of HER life. Why should this animal deserve ANY better? He doesn't!! Please forward this to as many people as you can. The more signatures we have from all over the world, the better our chances that someone in power might listen. If we don't do something about it, some other time it might hit too close to your home...

Also, please keep me updated by regularly sending back a list to me, so I can keep record of our progress. I sincerely appreciate your help and support in this matter, and so do Luke Homan and her mother. EVERY 100th PERSON PLEASE FORWARD THE LIST BACK TO Nikki Botha, Johannesburg, RSA, e-mail address: Nikki@comnet.co.za Please make a new list (by cutting and pasting) and forward that again to people you know. Kindly remove the headers and footers, as this keeps the list tidy and does not block the on-line system with unnecessary detail. Thank you and GOD BLESS all those who add their names here and to all those who have sadly been victims of violence. OUR PRAYERS ARE WITH YOU. WE, THE UNDERSIGNED DO HEREBY PETITION THE GOVERNMENT TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT THE CRIME RATE IN OUR COUNTRY:

(108 names deleted)

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

Unfortunately, the events described in the message are true. As Snopes.com reports, a little girl did have to live through this unspeakable nightmare and Nikki Botha did start an e-mail petition to draw attention to the soft treatment of sexual criminals in South Africa.

Of course, if you tried to send the petition back to the e-mail address listed, you'll know that it is no longer active and any mail is automatically rejected. The account was shut down within a couple of days of the petition's birth. Ms. Botha, like most originators of e-mail petitions, greatly underestimated the power of e-mail. Within a couple of hours, the message had multiplied thousands of times and traveled to hundreds of countries!

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E-mail petitions are a bad idea for both the originator and the sender. For the originator, there's the concept of exponential math: If you send a message to ten people who send it to ten each, and so on, you'll have a million copies of it in just 6 generations, and it will keep growing in that fashion! Obviously, this is much more than any human can keep straight, not to mention trying to weed out duplicate "signatures." Plus, most originators don't discuss the idea with their e-mail service provider prior to sending their pleas out. If they did, they'd probably find out that most ISPs prohibit e-mail petitions because of the strain they put on e-mail servers, almost invariably resulting in closing the account and setting up an auto-reject message.

Signing a petition like the one above gives your name, e-mail address, and geographic location to total strangers. You have no control over who sees the message and, yes, there are people out there who can and will use this information for less-than-noble purposes. At the very least, you could start getting even more unwanted e-mail (SPAM). At the worst, you could end up the victim of theft or fraud.

The real clincher is that e-mail petitions are worthless. Their "signatures" are easily faked, and no policy will ever be based on them. There still is no substitute for direct action to effect change. Call your congressmen, participate in marches, support rape victims. Don't think that simply sitting on your butt and typing your name on an e-mail forward will make a difference.

There are those that would argue that at least messages like this one increase public awareness of the problem. This may be true, but this message struck me as incredibly negative and vindictive. Written to spur your emotions, not your intellect, it's biased, full of hate and calls for revenge. There are better ways to address the problem. Break this chain!

What Do You Think?

Category: Armchair Activism
References: None

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