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. Not only was she a rape victim dealing with that traumatic experience but she also had to face her rapist everyday in school for the remainder of her senior year. Taylor was 17 years old when she accused Elias of rape and she displayed great courage by speaking up about what had happened to her. She filed a police report right away but then had to prepare to endure the lengthy legal process that lie ahead in which ultimately proved that Elias was guilty of the crime.
Despite Taylor’s accusation and throughout the legal process Elias was protected by Niagara Wheatfield High School as he was viewed by the administration as “innocent until proven guilty”. In their eyes Elias had the right to a proper education just like anyone else in the school while the legal process was taking place . Taylor was faced with looking at her rapist on a daily basis as he was permitted to freely roam the hallways of their high school . She was under a great deal of stress and there were times where she couldn’t get herself to go to school, because all she could think about was having to see her rapist. After being a victim of a violent crime , Taylor remained in a very vulnerable state due to the inactions of her High School.
As children growing up we are told in situations like Taylor’s to always speak up and tell an adult, so they can protect us and help resolve the issue. That is exactly what Taylor did but her well being was not considered . She told the principal of the high school how seeing Elias made her feel and all she was told was that the matter would be resolved but nothing was ever done to alleviate her concerns. It finally took Taylor’s mother to post a strongly worded message on Facebook about the school and the steps they weren’t taking. It was finally because of this post that her classmates decided to take some action and plan a walkout on Taylor’s behalf.
The way the school district handled Taylor’s case was unacceptable. She expressed her very legitimate concerns but there was no action taken by the administration . It is bad enough that Taylor was raped, but that fact that she had to see the perpetrator every day and relive that horrific experience is unacceptable . It is time that we stand up for what is right, and show children that when they speak up about something their voices will be heard and not dismissed. There were many things that could have been done to help Taylor feel more comfortable. Schedules could have been changed or personnel could of been assigned to escort Elias throughout the school day to ensure her comfort and safety. There are many cases like Taylor’s in the United States and in the world. We as members of our individual communities need to take action to keep our children safe at all times and feel unthreatened in a school environment.