In November 2012, 15-year-old Garfield High student Emily Miller (pseudonym) was raped while on a field-trip for her Seattle school. The rape was so brutal, she was hospitalized. Her alleged rapist returned to school, she never did.
Emily was on a three-day school trip to a National Park when a little late night talking in bed with a boy took scary turn. She had sneaked out of her room to see him, only to end up raped.
As AlJazeera America reports:
Medical records reported mild vaginal trauma, semen streaked on her pubic hair and in her anus and a diagnosis of rape trauma syndrome. Emily vomited, possibly because of a nauseating megadose of prophylactic antibiotics. Her rape advocate at the hospital, who had 10 years of experience working with rape victims, said she “presented as one who had experienced a rape.”
The teen initially told authorities a stranger had climbed into her cabin, later confessing it was her classmate and ‘friend’ – explaining her lie, she admitted not wanting to see him go to jail.
She needn’t have worried.
“I expected the school to say, ‘Something went terribly wrong, and we’re going to get to the bottom of it,’” Emily’s father said. “But that never happened.”
Instead, while the Miller family racked up $50,000 in debts for medical and psychiatric treatment for their daughter who went was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) – her alleged rapist was able to continue his school and home life, unmolested.
As Jezebel writes:
Meanwhile, at Garfield, the alleged rapist retained full control of the story, as he was the only one there to tell it. He was “framed,” he said. He was “proud” of “getting laid.” He was popular. The other kids “had his back.”
“It turned school into a hostile environment that made it impossible for Emily to return, the Millers said, and triggered their daughter’s full-blown PTSD.”
In behaving in such an appalling fashion, the school is in breach of Title XI regulations regarding conduct in the case of sexual assault allegations.
“The Millers had no idea about Title IX, which prohibits educational institutions receiving federal funding — high schools included — from sex discrimination, with particular prescriptions for addressing sexual assault. An “America Tonight” analysis of extensive school records and email exchanges about the case suggest administrators at Seattle Public Schools didn’t either…”
“If the provisions of Title IX had been followed, Emily’s mother believes, her daughter’s education could have been salvaged and her mental health protected. In May the family filed a Title IX complaint with the federal government, asking it to investigate.
Last month the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights agreed, making Seattle Public Schools, which covers all of Seattle, one of 23 elementary and secondary school districts currently under federal investigation for Title IX sexual violence issues. The number of colleges under investigation recently reached 64.”
It is little wonder that so many victims of rape and sexual assault remain silent about the abuse they receive, lacking confidence in authorities of law, state, work or education to deal responsibly and urgently with the perpetrators. Furthermore, they find themselves subject to blame for their own rape.
According to rape abuse network RAINN, for every 100 rapes in the US:
- 40 are reported to police
- 10 lead to an arrest
- 4 lead to a felony conviction
- 3 rapists will spend at least a single day in prison
Meaning: for every 100 rapes – 97 perpetrators will walk free for their crime.
Those are pretty unenviable odds to a person who has already been subjected to a terrifying and humiliating experience in private, and now facing the torment of making that public. We need to be supporting survivors of rape and sexual assault. We must do better.