The television show “Democracy Now” had a heartbreaking segment Friday about a teenager whose school accused her of “lewd conduct” and sent her to disciplinary school after she reported her rape.
That teenager, Rachel Bradshaw-Bean, says another student raped her in the band room of her east Texas high school when she was a senior in 2010.
When she told a band instructor what happened, she says, he told her to confront her attacker. The police were eventually notified and determined the sex was “consensual,” spurring Henderson High School to punish Bradshaw-Bean along with her alleged assailant.
Bradshaw-Bean told Democracy Now’s Amy Goodman that her own school treated her “like a prisoner” for trying to get help after her assault.
Recently, Bradshaw-Bean has been speaking out about her school’s egregious behaviour along with the ACLU, which filed a complaint with the Department of Education alleging her rights had been violated.
The Education Department found in 2012 that Henderson High had violated Title IX by “failing to provide a legitimate, non-discriminatory reason for placing student in DAEP [disciplinary alternative education program] for the conduct of ‘public lewdness.'”
That school relied on the police department’s finding the sex was consensual without looking into the matter itself, as required by Title IX, the Education Department investigation found. As a result, Bradshaw-Bean was forced to go to the very same disciplinary program that her alleged attacker went to.
“I had to see him every day, multiple times,” Bradshaw-Bean told Amy Goodman.
Bradshaw-Bean told investigators at the DOE that other students would also make comments about the alleged rape. She told the DOE that one student asked her “what she was in here for.” Then that other student told Bradshaw-Bean that she and her alleged rapist “did it.”
It seems unbelievably cruel to subject a student who’s been traumatized to this kind of ridicule. Indeed, ACLU lawyer Sandra Park told Democracy Now that it was a violation not just of Bradshaw-Bean’s rights but also of common sense to penalise her for coming forward.
“I mean, when we have set up a system where we want rape victims to come forward and report the violence they experience,” Park said, “to turn around and then actually punish the victim for having done that reporting is just absolutely ludicrous and undermines the public trust in our police system and our schools. “
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