Reliving a Rape
Should a rapist still have the right to an education at the same school as their victim? This question was recently posed in a New York High School when a girl was raped by a boy in her graduating class. This case went to court and Taylor was issued a protection order against Elias. Surprisingly and sadly, this “protective order”, didn’t protect Taylor at school. Elias had signed a confession, but Taylor, understandably, still felt scared in the presence of Elias.
Taylor was a rape victim who was dealing with a very traumatic experience during her senior year. She had to face her assailant every day for the rest of the year. Taylor relived the traumatic experience every time she saw him at school. She was only at the young age of seventeen years old when she accused Elias of rape. Not even reaching the full age of an adult, she built up the courage to speak up about the horrible situation that happened to her, that sadly many girls also experience. She filed a police report right away but then had to prepare to endure the lengthy legal process that would soon occur.
Throughout this very enduring legal process, Elias was protected by Niagara Wheatfield High School as he was viewed by the administration as “innocent until proven guilty”. To start off with, that could obviously make Taylor feel defeated because she is alone trying to prove what happened, as her school is backing up her assailant. Taylor remained in a very vulnerable state during this time, and sometimes she couldn’t even pick herself up to go to school, knowing Elias would be there. Niagara Wheatfield High School didn’t conduct their protection of students properly, because Taylors “learning” environment, turned into a horrible environment.
The author believes that the court should have instructed law enforcement and the school to coordinate with one another to keep her safe from Elias. Personally, I believe Elias should have had another form of schooling put in place during the duration of the trial. I think Elias being at school and Taylor having to see him everyday was just like adding fuel to the fire. There are many options that could have been put in place such as Elias being homeschooled for a certain period of time or going to school after hours. I do believe everyone deserves a chance at a fair trial, but in cases like this there needs to be actions but in place during the duration of court. Sadly, Taylor entrusted the school to protect her when she spoke up about the violent crime that was enacted on her, and they broke her trust. Students are always told their whole life by teachers that school is a learning and safe environment. But that wasn’t the case for Taylor. No student should feel this way, and school should always be a safe place for every student to learn and be among one another.