One Georgia teen’s rape story is a reflection of why most victims never tell anyone about the assault.
A 16-year-old Peachtree Ridge High School student was sexually assaulted by a classmate while waiting for her mom to pick her up after school in 2015, the Miami Herald reports. But when she opened up to her school about the rape, she was ultimately suspended.
The girl, whose initials are T.M., said she was waiting for her mother to pick her up when the boy said he wanted to show her some video equipment. He then allegedly forced her to perform oral sex on him in the high school newsroom, the report states. However, the boy told investigators he thought the girl was consenting because she had a “blank face” and she had sent him a message six weeks beforehand that mentioned oral sex.
Not only was the girl suspended multiple times after news of the assault got out, but officials forced her to participate in questioning in the same room as her alleged assaulter, act out what happened, and answer questions about what she was wearing that day in the course of the school’s investigation. One officer even asked her, “Why didn’t you bite his penis and squeeze his balls?” The school district’s lawyer, who was supposed to be a neutral party who questioned both students, also asked the girl why she didn’t scream louder as the assault took place and why she didn’t have any physical injuries, Slate.com reports.
T.M.’s father revealed, “We begged and pleaded with the superintendent to hold the hearing for each one separately, so that it would be less traumatizing. We even considered not having her attend at all. In the end, we decided, and [T.M.] decided, that she wanted to try to stand up for herself. Of course, that did no good whatsoever.”
T.M. wrote in a statement, “I really wish my school would have helped me instead of looking out for itself. The school took advantage of me, and that wasn’t fair. The school should have pulled my attacker out of school and put him somewhere else, far away from me.”
T.M. and the boy were eventually both found in violation of the school’s code of conduct and both were suspended further for engaging in sexual activity on campus. But the bullying at school proved to be too much for the young girl. After contemplating suicide, she eventually went to another school in the area, and then her family moved her out of the area completely.