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Thursday, August 18, 2011

“I was suspended from school for reporting my rapist. I guess he was the victim.”

I felt nothing but shock-and-awe when I first learned about this story. So many times a victim of harassment or discrimination will not be taken seriously by the proper officials. Such as the case of a seventh grade special-needs student, who got the ultimate slap in the face when the Republic School District in Springfield, Missouri, suspended her even though she made a legitimate complaint. Furthermore they forced her to write a letter of apology and hand-deliver it to her attacker. Unfortunately for the seventh grader, she backed down the first time and suffered the consequences for it. However, when she returned to school the following school year, she was attacked and raped a second time by the same boy. This time she fought back, and she had enough evidence to prove that in addition to being raped, school officials were negligent in investigating the matter properly. The student illustrated one important fact of being a victim of abuse: When you back down, your abusers win. When you fight back (the right way) you can defeat an army.

Former CIA covert operative,
Valerie Plame Wilson.
Fighting back against an aggressor will be exhausting. In many cases, very expensive, if you consider lawyer fees and court costs. Many may recall former CIA operative, Valerie Plame Wilson, who fought back against White House officials after she was outed as a covert operative by I “Scooter” Libby and other members of George W. Bush’s White House staff. Settling out of court would have been the easy way out for both of them, but it certainly would not have brought accountability to those responsible for putting her life—as well as members of her family and international contacts—in danger. She chose to grab the bull by the horns and she went public. As a result, “Scooter” Libby was indicted and was imprisoned. Although other White House officials escaped prison time, their reputations were tarnished. This was certainly a much better outcome than had she settled out of court.

As for the seventh grader, she not 
only had to confront her rapist, but also an incompetent school administration that chose to protect him rather than be fair and impartial. It’s a shame that the victim did not go to the police the first time so that a rape kit could be put together. It may have saved her a lot of time and heartache. Even though the rapist—after he was shown the evidence against him for his latest attack—admitted that he had raped her, school officials still had the nerve to claim that the girl brought her problems on herself. As my lawyer once told me, “Sometimes the best defence is an offence.” I would hope that this girl does not settle out of court. Instead she ought to drag each school official that acted negligently into court, and crush them for the snakes that they are.

Russell Brooks is the author of Pandora’s Succession.


  1. That's so sick. Stupid school authorities.

  2. Agreed, Sara. I wonder if criminal charges could be brought against the individuals in the administration on the grounds that they were accessories to the girls rape.

  3. I know the more I see of this story the angrier I get. How old is a 7th grader? (I'm in Britain, we have no consistent year groupings the way you guys do over the Atlantic.) For this to happen to anyone is shocking, even more so in a school.

    I also hope she makes as much hell as possible for all those involved. Even if she doesn't get the justice she deserves, at least there's the satisfaction of making their lives difficult for as long as she can.

  4. Vivicia, thanks for your comments. If I'm not mistaken, a 7th grader over in the United States would be 12 years old. And I agree with you 100%, she ought to give the school officials hell. This is something that I can see happening on an episode of Law and Order: SVU. Imagine if the girl had been killed, or got so depressed that she committed suicide. For sure, the school officials would've been held liable. I'm not a lawyer, but I believe that each school official ought to face criminal negligence charges.