Heartbreaking: 7th Grade Girl Raped Twice, Blamed and Punished By School Officials Both Times

The first time she was raped, school officials told her she was lying. They even demanded she write and hand-deliver an apology letter to her attacker.  Twisting the knife a little deeper,  the school expelled her for the rest of the year. The devastating sequence of events that followed suggests that school officials may actually have wanted the girl to have been attacked, or punished for speaking-out, once more  She was raped by the same boy in the library the following year. 

According to the SpringfieldNews-Leader, the 7th grade special education student at Republic Middle School in Springfield, MO reported her rape in the spring of 2009. School officials refused to believe her, and after suffering through "multiple intimidating interrogations," she recanted the claim.  What's more, a school psychologist's report said the girl "would forego her own needs and wishes to satisfy the request of others around so that she can be accepted." In other words, the already victimized twelve-year-old might have taken back her statement after school officials demonized her for being raped.

When she returned to school the following year, the school refused her mother's request for extra monitoring and did not separate her from her rapist who, thanks to the apology letter, knew she had told. If the school wanted the girl to be victimized a third time, they got their wish. In February 2010, the lawsuit says her attacker "was able to hunt [her] down, drag her to the back of the school library, and again forcibly rape her." This time, she and her mother reported the rape to the police, and a rape kit tested positive for her attacker's semen. He plead guilty to charges in juvenile court. 

The school's next move made it clear that it was not lack of evidence fueling officials' accusation that she was lying, but a deep-seeded hatred for women: Incredibly, the twelve-year-old rape victim was suspended for for "Disrespectful Conduct" and "Public Display of Affection" - two absolutely disgusting ways to categorize rape. The school had victimized the girl a fourth time, slut-shaming a rape victim for an attack that happened on school property, and one her mother sought to prevent by requesting their separation.

Her lawsuit requests damages for medical expenses, emotional distress, and attorneys' fees, in addition to "punitive damages to deter School Officials and others from similar conduct in the future."

But the school district denied every one of the girl's allegations, as well as responsibility for the attack,  the same way they denied her rape. 

AlterNet / By Kristen Gwynne

Posted at August 16, 2011, 12:53pm

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