rape culture

In 2010, an incident occurred at Forest Hills Central High School in Michigan that sounds quite familiar to the high school rape story from Steubenville, Ohio. A student was sexually assaulted by a star player on the school’s basketball team in a soundproof band room. The student informed a teacher about the incident and in return, the teacher notified the principal. Inside of opening an investigation into the matter, the principal attempted to discourage the parents from filing charges because they could damage the assailant’s Division I basketball recruiting prospects.

A Michigan law firm and the National Woman’s Law Center recently filed a complaint against the high school:

As alleged in the complaint, two weeks later another female student was sexually assaulted by the same attacker. Despite a legal obligation under Title IX to investigate the assault and protect the student, the high school officials never interviewed the girl or her parents again, failed to conduct an investigation, and for two and a half weeks left the attacker in one of her classes.

According to Think Progress:

After the news of the assault spread throughout the Michigan high school, the victim faced backlash from her fellow students, who called her a whore and a liar. She was the subject of intense cyberbullying, and she was also harassed by her assailant and his friends in the school’s hallways. Her parents reported the harassment to the school, but administrators took no action. “The school’s failure to address the harassment sends a chilling message to students that they should remain silent in the face of sexual assault and cannot count on their school to provide a safe learning environment,” a statement from the National Women Law Center pointed out.

Law enforcement did their own due diligence after the rape was reported. The attacker was charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct against both of his victims.  The attacker later pled guilty to a single count of misdemeanor assault and battery. He was sentenced to attend Kent County’s Adolescent Sexual Offender Treatment Program for a second time. The only sanction the school imposed upon the student assailant was to temporarily bench him on the basketball court.

“Title IX requires schools to ensure that the educational environment is free from sex-based discrimination,” said NWLC Vice-President of Education and Employment Fatima Goss Graves said in a statement.

“This school completely ignored its legal responsibility to address student-on-student sexual harassment and failed to take reasonable steps to protect the victim. The school’s failure to address the harassment sends a chilling message to students that they should remain silent in the face of sexual assault and cannot count on their school to provide a safe learning environment.”

It’s unfortunate that Forest Hills High School felt that athletic achievement was more important than protecting its students.

8 Comments

  1. Sasha

    I wonder how all the people involved in all of these coverups would feel if their daughters, granddaugters or nieces were the victims of sexual assualt and they were being persuaded to cover up the situation. America is raising some serious sexual predators and they are allowed to roam free on courts around the nation, much to the protection of men and women alike.

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  2. talaktochoba

    the only answers here are for fathers to immediately step up protection of their daughters and for the parents of the victim to sue the school system for every dime of the money this Div. 1 prospect brings in and then some;

    chances are better than even she is not the only victim, and some of the girls and boys bullying her are active participants in a school sex club/ring she was victimised by–most likely angry at the loss of money/prestige their sexual liaisons bring–because no post-pubescent boy can get away with this all on his own;

    i knew of a father with a similar problem–his daughter was threatened with rape, and arranged by the girls in the sex ring his daughter wanted nothing to do with;

    he became such a vocal and physically protective presence in her extracurricular activities other girls who’d been threatened gravitated to this man who gladly extended his protection to them;

    coaches, other parents and the girls in the school sex ring weren’t at all happy (turned out many of the protesting parents and coaches and even administrators were sexually involved, too, even with some of the girls and boys on the school sports teams) but more than a few girls and their parents didn’t hesitate to thank this man the day his daughter graduated;

    sometimes HS athletics can turn dirty as boxing and MMA, but it only takes one father to make a difference;

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    • Jenyse

      @talaktochoba What happens if no father is available?

      My response to this atrocity:
      This young lady had both parents in the home. This school system failed this young lady, consistently, blatantly, and considering the felonious charges which stuck on this guy forcing him to plead down, there was more than enough evidence to put him away with time.

      This young man may have had a mother and a father in the home but it obviously did not make a difference.

      Fathers are not the only help a child should have.

      That school system, those administrators should be ashamed of themselves. And of course I wonder, how would they have reacted if it had been a female relative of their own? Would they have stood idly by for over two years watching this young man’s career advance while their relative was slut shamed into silence and depression?

      Slut shamed into living a less than full life. No woman deserves that.

      It’s abhorrent and repulsive.

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    • talaktochoba

      Jenyse, dear daughter, if there is no father available, there’s a grandfather or a stepfather or an uncle or a distant cousin, SOMEBODY male who is maybe a family friend who must step into the face of this atrocity;

      sure, the school system failed this daughter, but do you really think it was happenstance this girl was attacked?

      let me tell you, it was because this boy knew beforehand she was vulnerable, unprotected, and had no recourse but to submit and either remain silent or endure the wrath of his protection system, which in this case clearly includes the school district–and clearly he was right;

      the question is how long this horribly misguided if athletically gifted boy is going to remain right, and clearly the school system which tolerated and now protects him is NOT going to lift a finger to help til somebody smashes one with a hammer;

      that, young one, is a man’s job;

      the father i spoke of protected my daughter 15 years ago–maybe if he’s still around i should give him a call;

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  3. 1-Law enforcement did their own due diligence after the rape was reported.

    2-The attacker was charged with two felony counts of criminal sexual conduct against both of his victims.

    3-The attacker later pled guilty to a single count of misdemeanor assault and battery.

    4-He was sentenced to attend Kent County’s Adolescent Sexual Offender Treatment Program for a second time.

    What the hell kind of math is this? How did he get a misdemeanor off what he is accused of? You cant shoot enough wet jump shots in the world to get you a get out of jail card like that. And I am not comfortable with the idea that the parent sent the child back to school with the boy still attending never mind the class. This does not add up.

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    • Mademoiselle

      I’ll be raising my future daughter to raise all living hell if she ever ends up in this situation. I will be that parent that doesn’t stop until the entire athletic department gets shut down because of these kinds of cover ups. I’ll be the parent pressing every criminal charge available and filing every civil lawsuit until that boy(s) and those adults regret the day that boy ever even said hello to my daughter.

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  4. E.M.S.

    It’s so revolting the way schools have been dealing with sexual assault lately. They still believe rape happens in a dark alley by a stranger to a girl whose skirt is too short.

    Rapists come in all forms. Doesn’t matter how revered he is by the community, it doesn’t mean he is incapable of committing the crime. And once there’s prove he has, he should be punished, not protected. Nothing pisses me off more than these schools who care more about the future of the rapists than seeking justice and closure for victims.

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  5. Did…Did I just read that he had to attend a mandatory program a SECOND time? And I noticed there was the “BOTH victims,” line in there. So he’s a serial rapist and no one thinks this is wrong? No one thinks he should be stopped in his tracks? No, of course not, the safety of the young girls in that school means nothing in the face of his budding basketball career. Then if he grows up and ends up raping and killing someone I’m sure everyone will stand around and comment that they were “shocked,” that he could do such a thing, because he’s such a “star athlete and great guy,” when he’s been assaulting women all along. This is really sad.

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