12-Year-Old Negligent And Responsible For Own Rape' http://thinkprogress.org/justice/2012/11/05/1141331/school-district-claims-student-was-herself-responsible-for-being-raped/?mobile=nc
Whatever differences of opinion we have, this is just awful. I don't mean to be insensitive, but I am a little bit concerned as to whether the district really is at fault here. One guy committed suicide over this, and another teacher is behind bars. Was it individual teachers that abused this girl, or did the whole district abuse her? If the district was aware of it and just looked the other way as long as nobody was running their mouths, and then just passed the trash when things looked iffy, then I could see how they were at fault. Maybe if other victims of this dead guy were receiving compensation from the district, I could see that. I could be more wholeheartedly sympathetic to her cause. Otherwise it just looks like another person reaching for money.
But, I mean, come on... The courts will decide that, I guess. The lawyers ought to know better than to use "blame the victim" language in their defense. I don't see how the district is going to weasel out of paying SOME damages. Saying it's the victim's own fault isn't going to reduce damages. If anything, the judge will stick it to 'em for their lawyers being idiots.
Playing devil's advocate here, but is there ever a legit "blame the victim" scenario? I can't think of any intelligent examples at the moment... Something like a neighbor builds a fire in his backyard, maybe burning leaves or a bonfire, or something. The girl next door decides it will be fun to play in it and ends up getting 3rd degree burns, lung damage from smoke inhalation, etc. Is it fair to sue the guy just for building a fire? Or is it the burn victim's fault for being stupid?
No one in his right mind, myself included, will ever argue that having sex with someone without their consent is OK. However, a young woman has some degree of manipulating her odds. Does she dress provocatively and go to parties where she KNOWS there will be alcohol, drugs, and guys with too much blood in their testosterone system? I'd say she has more of a likelihood of her clothes just falling off and passing out on someone else's bed than, say, someone who dresses conservatively and prefers nice, quiet evenings at home with a glass of wine and a good book.
Similarly, everyone who lives in Greenville, MS, knows that unless you're a drug dealer, a prostitute, a gang member, or you're going to eat at Doe's (preferably before sunset), you have no business hanging out on Nelson Street. No, it's not your fault if you get robbed or shot. But you're not going to win any points with cops or judges for being an idiot! If a white person wants to avoid racial tension after dark, he stays south of US 82.
I know comparing abusive teachers to frat parties is apples/oranges, but defense is claiming the girl was "negligent," which is why they are going to fail. Negligence defenses don't work for frat parties, and they certainly aren't going to work here.
But what I can't understand is why with so many women teachers going to jail for messing with male underage students haven't succeeded in a variation of the negligence defense, especially when we're talking about young, green, attractive women teachers. As a male teacher right out of college, I took assignments where the dating pool was narrow if not non-existent. I can't even begin to imagine the psychology of a woman who goes from an overabundance of male attention to none at all. Being horrendously teased by horny male students can't help matters. So...the teacher just "happens" to need to run out to her car during her planning period, the student just "happens" to be taking a shortcut through the parking lot on his way to weight-lifting. Nobody will ever know. Not until the sex tape ends up on YouTube, anyway, and it will be his parents who bring charges.
Y'know, seduction is sometimes used as part of a rape accusation. In the olden days, young teachers running one-room schools on the frontier were often rape victims. Why is it so different now? Maybe the girl has no business teaching if she lacks the maturity to avoid that kind of manipulation. But rape is rape, and it makes no difference if it is through seduction or brute force.
I honestly don't think it works the other way, i.e. 12-year-old girls don't rape grown men.
But let's (for the sake of argument) turn this back around on the victim. If it is well-known among students that a certain male teacher is a horn-dog and a young girl KNOWINGLY and willfully puts herself in a position to be "exploited" (note the use of scare quotes here), I'd say the district has a good case for accusing the victim of negligence.
Angel Rho, a TWELVE year old girl could walk into the teacher's lounge stark naked and drunk, and plaster herself to a male teacher who's the only other person there, and it STILL wouldn't be her fault if she was raped. She was TWELVE.
[CAUTION: Devil's advocate alert]
But we don't know any extenuating circumstances. Why is she naked? Why is she drunk? Is it her fault for being either? It's possible. Did she know there might be one or more teachers in the teacher's lounge? Well, it IS the teacher's lounge, after all. It stands to reason there very likely could be at least one teacher in there. And there's a 50/50 chance that the teacher is male--you only get two options here. And how do you know it's rape? It could be consensual. And don't pull "can't legally consent" on me. I don't care what the law says. 12-year-olds are capable of "wanting it." I was 12 once, and I wasn't a year or two older than that when I discovered that there were girls roughly that age who already knew what dry-humping is and one or two who had already started having sex. It's a friggin miracle I was still a virgin at 19. Like it or not, consensual sex does happen at pre-teen and early teen years. And I don't buy for one second that they all care whether they are being "used" by someone in a position of trust, because "using" and "being used" is a two-way street.
Now, assuming that same drunk, naked 12-year-old walked into a teacher's lounge and a crusty, old, Coach Hardon happens to be in there and he DOES rape her, i.e. non-consentual sex, then no, it's not her fault for getting raped. But it IS her fault for being stupid, i.e. getting drunk, running around naked, and going inside a teacher's lounge where students aren't ever allowed. It was her poor judgment and poor choices that put her in that position in the first place.
That's assuming the middle school football team didn't kidnap her, force her to drink and strip, and chase her through the school only to have her duck in the lounge to hide or get help, only to be taken advantage of by Coach Hardon.
But if that's not what's going on, if this is something analogous to frat-party antics, and if the girl makes herself vulnerable by making stupid choices, she is negligent. She's spitting into the wind. If you run out into a busy street, you don't get to sue someone when they run over you with a car.
People who commit rape deserve to be brought to justice. Coach Hardon is going to lose his teaching creds, lose his career, lose any hope of functioning in society for being a pedophile, and spend a significant amount of time in prison. It doesn't matter if she consented or not (realistically). I don't dispute that, nor do I dispute that victims of rape deserve justice. Neither am I in favor of a "blame the victim" mentality.
But there is another side to all this, and that is the side of the accused and anything or anyone associated with him. On the one hand, the accused has the right to due process. The accusations could be false, after all, and what REALLY happened was the coach said something she didn't like at P.E.--something like "you MUST wear shoes to play dodgeball." I dunno. So she chugs some vodka, strips, attacks the coach in the teacher's lounge, and when the principal rushes in to see what the ruckus is all about, she points and says "HE made me do it!! !" The guy gets fired on the spot, and if there's a case in court it's going to be her word against his, and who do you think the judge is going to believe?
10 years later and the same girl is .02 away from graduating from college with honors, so it pisses her off. She thinks about it and decides maybe she can recoup on her student loans a little, so she sues the school district for damages. All this when the wrongdoing was entirely on her part.
Purely hypothetical, I know, but not unrealistic. So I think we have to be careful how we pursue sensitive matters of seeking justice for rape when there is so much room to unfairly manipulate the system.
Back in the real world, this person was abused by two teachers, not the entire school and not the administration. Her case is against those who did her harm. One of her bullies is dead and the other will never have a normal life. I feel for her and recognize what happened to her was awful and perhaps she can't live a normal life because of it. But you punish the guilty, not the innocent, and I don't see how there is anything left to be done. With all due respect to this woman and all she went through, this lawsuit reeks of frivolity. She thinks she has someone by the balls, so she's going to play this for all it's worth. And I'm not sure why. Is it just the money? Revenge motive? Closure? Just because she can? I've never been raped, and I'm not a woman, so I can't speak for a female rape victim. But I just don't see how any of this is really going to make her feel any better. Unless she comes to terms with what happened spiritually and emotionally, and for all I know she already has, she'll never "get over it" if that's even possible. I don't know what more there can be done or what more there SHOULD be done. I don't see how making an entire district responsible for what two individuals did is going to solve anything. I'm sure the details are probably more convoluted than what we get from the article, which seems more commentary than informative, but just based on what I've read so far that's all I have for you.