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Outrageous

Today's installment in lotr_bookclub will return tomorrow while we make this public service announcement.

I have a friend who has a daughter. Both friend and daughter will remain nameless but I have reason to believe she will read this, and she needs to hear it. Her daughter has been sexually abused by a girl at her school - an older student who has lured the daughter on serveral occasions into a bathroom and played out the abuse that we can only assume she (the older girl) is suffering at home.

Appropriately, the school was notified. Shockingly, the school's response was that the younger girl, my friend's daughter - was at fault because it had happened several times, and she had not immediately reported it. They decided this meant that an eight year old girl was "sexually curious" and therefore complicit in the sex-acts. I find this criminally outrageous. The school is essentially denying that any abuse occurred - I can only assume becuase it will prevent a public scandal. But who is served here? Not my friend's daughter, who, I reiterate is eight years old and clearly NOT sexually curious. The girl is, entirely appropriately, very actively interested in completely childlike things. She is certainly not helped by being told she's at fault. Is the older girl, the abuser, served by secrecy? No, clearly not - she's almost certainly being abused at home - and by sweeping this under the carpet, the abuse is more likely to continue.

Only the administration has anything to gain by keeping these things a secret. That is not acceptable, decent, moral, permissible, legal, or ethical. In my opinion, the administrators responsible should be at least fired if not sued, and then only if they are not shot. At the very least, angry badgers should be put in their pants, while men in luchadore masks slap them with cricket-bats and shout, "Keep THAT secret in your pants, you heartless fuckers!" The administration should be held accountable for this probably criminal lapse in stewardship of children. Both girls should be given copious counselling - the older girl probably removed from her home, too, if that is where she is being abused. And both girls should be separated, meaning one of them will have to transfer schools; presumably the abuser. This should happen immediately, and not at some point in the vague future.

The problem is - my friend is feeling like maybe she's wrong, and maybe it's just easier to wait until she can get her daughter moved to another school and make no other fuss. I want her to know my opinion on this in no uncertain terms - and I encourage you, dear reader, to chime in so she will know she is not alone. Making no fuss simply creates an environment in which sexual abuse of children can continue. It will also teach her daughter the lesson that when someone does something like that, there's no sense reporting it, becuase she will be blamed anyway - and nothing will change. This girl, the daughter - is bright, precocious, full of energy, and very outgoing. If it is necessary to shake the pillars of heaven to preserve her innocence, then so should those pillars be shook. She has done nothing wrong - the people that have need to be punished severely or counselled with compassion, as appropriate. Hint: no one in this over the age of 12 needs counselling. Just a serious curb-stomping.

Comments

( 15 comments — Leave a comment )
elanya
Oct. 23rd, 2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
That is really horrible, and it disgusts me that the administration should be so willing to sacrifice children in the name of not causing some (needed!) conflict or scandal.

If I were your friend, I might consider contacting child services myself if the school isn't going to do anything about this. As disgusting as their response is, theirs is not the paramount authority in cases like this.
aghrivaine
Oct. 23rd, 2006 05:49 pm (UTC)
I agree. Going to a higher authority is appropropriate. In fact, if he/she were responding to petitions these days, I imagine the Almighty would be not inappropriate.
greensilk
Oct. 23rd, 2006 05:52 pm (UTC)
She needs to get to counselling right away.. and the parent needs to demand action be done.. including calling your version of child and family services in as well as the police and laying out a charge if they can.

Your so right in this.. she must make a fight for her daughter, otherwise she will be scarred in ways that will not show up for years. SHe can email me if she likes and I will give the best advice I can (leamber at owbn dot org). I can also contact my cousins and see what CA law is on this matter.. they are all cops.

*hugs* to her and her little girl, this is heartbreaking.
shelooks12
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:13 pm (UTC)
You know,
You can report this to the police yourself. YOu don't need to wait for the school to do it. They would learn quickly what the law thinks of the whole thing.

Heather
odiedragon
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:21 pm (UTC)
Definiatly notify the authorities. Even if the school denies everything, there could be an investigation into the other student's homelife, and her daughter would know that such things... while there may not be a proper punishment involved, they don't happen without there being some kind of action taken.
lacyintx
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:31 pm (UTC)
Wow... unbelievable! I can't believe the school's reaction to this situation. Definitely, someone needs to be notified. Keeping it quiet won't be easier for anyone. Especially the children. I can't imagine keeping quiet if it were my daughter. Best of luck to your friend and her daughter. This is heart breaking.
recoveredweasel
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:46 pm (UTC)
The situation needs to be addressed properly, and the school is being totally negligent. Both those children need some serious help, and sweeping the whole thing under the rug will most likely only cause more damage. Those poor girls.
Um.... no offense, but is this such a good venue for this discussion, though? I feel sorry that your friend and her daughter are having their (very private!) issue aired like this in such a public forum, even though I know you're doing it because you are motivated by very noble reasons and I will never know who this person is. Perhaps you could have just contacted someone with DHS and/or the police and left it at that?
Also as a side note, an eight-year-old girl can indeed be sexually curious. I certainly was. However, that is neither here nor there and shouldn't matter a single goddamn. The school administrator who said that that makes everything okay should have his or her ass kicked.
aghrivaine
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:48 pm (UTC)
My intent here was to let my friend know, hopefully, that it's not just her and I who think that the school is being outrageously negligent. I left her name off exactly because it's a private matter.

This girl is definitely not sexually curious, according to her mother - and she doesn't seem like a worldly 8 year old. Just a young kid doing young kid things.
recoveredweasel
Oct. 23rd, 2006 06:55 pm (UTC)
I figured. You seem like a good, caring person and I didn't say you're a bad guy for doing this. I just wondered if perhaps you were being indiscreet. I certainly can't fault your motivation. But, like, perhaps you could have cleared this with her ahead of time?
I guess I'm just thinking of times in my past when I stepped on my (metaphorical) dick in the service of a worthy cause and ended up doing more damage than good.
Regardless, that's none of my business, so I'll shut up now except to wish the best to your friend and her little girl.
eefster
Oct. 23rd, 2006 07:07 pm (UTC)
I believe I've said it before, but I think she (the mother) is absolutely right to raise a fuss. Even just calling it 'a fuss' is misleading - this is a horrible, serious situation that needs to be dealt with appropriately. And no, sweeping it under the carpet isn't appropriate - both girls need help, and if the school won't or can't provide it, she needs to bring in someone who can.
kylecassidy
Oct. 23rd, 2006 07:16 pm (UTC)
i suggest that it's time for your friend to call a lawyer. and then have the lawyer call the congressman and the police.
nephandi
Oct. 23rd, 2006 08:37 pm (UTC)
Perhaps our prosecutorial friend Jonathan may have some insights.
aghrivaine
Oct. 23rd, 2006 08:38 pm (UTC)
an excellent point.
laughingwolf042
Oct. 24th, 2006 01:47 am (UTC)
This is sickening.
It seems I've been left in the dust a bit here, but I will still voice my strong agreement with you.

A mother of a young child in school myself, this horrifies and sickens me. If it were my child in this particular situation, I would have had an immediate conference with the school administration - with my lawyer and a representative from child services sitting next to me, and all the local newspapers/tv new stations on speed-dial on my phone. "Fuss" would not be an appropriate word to use for the absolute hell I would raise, should my concerns about such a situation be met with a reaction such as that.

This is wrong and it is disgusting that the school is avoiding handling it for whatever reason - and no reason they could ever possibly come up with could be good enough or more important than these girls' emotional, spiritual and physical well-being, which is exactly what they are putting at risk here.

Please, please convey my deepest sympathies and heartfelt encouragement to your friend and, if she wants to talk to someone who is also a mom, please give her my email address or my phone number (which I can give to you, if you email me).
beautesansbete
Oct. 24th, 2006 02:39 pm (UTC)
I am so disturbed by this posting I can’t even think strait. I am horrified at the school administration’s reaction to this but not surprised. I am a little surprised that the mother did not immediately go to the police but I do not admonish her for it. As a mother myself, I know that part of you doesn’t want to admit that this happened and maybe making a fuss will cause more harm than good for the children but you can’t allow yourself to think like that. That type of thinking is what perpetuates abuse.

The easy road is very often not the right road to take.

The girls needs help immediately. Each needs to be taught that she has the right to say no and that she can and should walk away and get help from someone. You can’t let your child think that people (grownups or children) can get away with doing something wrong to you; weather it be physical, sexual or mentally abusive. And on that I speak as a child of domestic violence who grew up to have mentally and physically abusive relationships (the first 6 years, the second 4 years) because I was taught through example, to believe that it was all my fault.

I don’t want the mother to think that a whole bunch of strangers are ganging up on her and telling her what to do but I do want to encourage her to seek legal and psychological help for her and her daughter.

This is not her fault; it is not her daughter’s fault. As uncomfortable as it is to draw attention to this, she needs to inform the police so that they can help the other child and so that the school administration is taught not to “sweep” more abused children “under the rug” just so they can try to prevent a lawsuit. Your friend is the only one with the power to do this and she needs to be strong. She needs to be strong for her little girl.
( 15 comments — Leave a comment )