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RCMP are investigating an alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl who they allege was drugged and raped by five to seven males outside a rave party at 12993 Harris Road in Pitt Meadows about a week ago in this structure behind the house seen here September 17, 2010.

John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail/John Lehmann/The Globe and Mail

It's a double hurt, and the pain is evident in every angry, halting word.

Not only has the 40-ish, self-employed contractor had to weather the alleged gang rape of his 16-year-old daughter, graphic pictures of the disturbing incident have been widely circulated on the Internet.

"It just makes you sick," the girl's father said Friday in an interview. "I'm still a ball of rage."

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The Fraser Valley resident said the Internet photos, which police have been working feverishly to erase, make healing from the brutal assault even more difficult.

"We are certainly going after what can be sent, but there's stuff in personal devices that you're never going to be able to stop," he said. "For us, this may just go on and on. To call it a parent's worst nightmare is an understatement … and we're living it."

The father's name is not being used to protect his daughter's identity.

Circulation of the cellphone pictures on a number of Facebook sites has prompted widespread public outrage and soul searching over whether adolescents are increasingly desensitized by their social networking and easy access to extreme online images.

"They are seeing things that people, 30 or 40 years ago, would never have been exposed to in their entire lifetimes," said Sara Smyth, a cybercrime expert at Simon Fraser University's criminology department. "Now, kids of middle-school age are just being inundated."

B.C. Attorney-General Mike de Jong said laws need to "evolve" to combat the way social networking can be used to further a victim's suffering.

"A young girl has been traumatized in an indescribable way, and what people need to understand is that every time someone views those pictures or transmits them, she and her family are being traumatized again."

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But Stuart Poyntz, a communications researcher at SFU, said the answer is better education in the schools, rather than curbing freedom on the Internet.

"It worries me that we are treating kids as the scapegoats for a really brutal and awful event," Mr. Poyntz said.

The girl's father, struggling to understand how anyone could deepen his daughter's suffering by posting pictures of what happened, said he can only attribute it to desensitizing from the Internet.

"We are really dealing with a different level of youth and education," he said. "The old days are gone. It's out of control. You don't know what to do. You feel helpless."

The incident took place about a week ago in a field during an overnight rave in the suburban rural community of Pitt Meadows.

Police allege the girl was drugged, then sexually assaulted by as many as half a dozen individuals.

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"It is very clear from the evidence, her physical injuries and her recollection of it that she was not a willing participant," RCMP Insp. Derren Lench told reporters. "She is 16 years old and has gone through something none of us can imagine."

Police have made two arrests, one a 16-year old boy alleged to have photographed and uploaded images of the attack to Facebook, the other an 18-year old suspected of sexual assault.

Charges are pending against both, according to police, although each has been released from custody.

Meanwhile, some students at Pitt Meadows Secondary School speculated that the girl was fabricating or exaggerating her story.

"I hear two sides of the story, so I'm not sure," said one Grade 11 male student. "She was probably on Ecstasy."

But Brandon King, who attended the party, said he was appalled by what took place.

"Guys who take advantage of girls that are drunk, never mind they may have the date rape drug in them, that's just disgusting. It makes me sick thinking about it," the Grade 11 student said.

He said he hadn't seen the photos and didn't want to. "I know people who do know her. It's just respect. I'm not going to go and look at them."

As for the victim, her father said she hopes to return to school as early as next week,

"She actually emits strength for both her mother and me, seeing how well she is handling this," he said. "She's got tons of support from her friends, and she's a real strong character, let's put it that way."

With a report from Justine Hunter in Victoria

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About the Author
National correspondent

Based in Vancouver, Wendy Stueck has covered technology and business and now reports on British Columbia issues including natural resources, aboriginal issues and urban affairs. More

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