Shameful: School District Blames “Careless” “Negligent” 12-Year-Old For Being Raped By Teacher

18 Comments
November 2, 2012 ‐ By madamenoire

 

Source: Shutterstock

From Alternet.org

The recent spate of GOP callousness towards rape victims is part of a broader rape culture in our country in which victims of sexual assault are frequently  blamed for their own attacks–by gossip, by the media, and also in some cases, legally.

Witness this perfect example of rape culture coming from legal papers filed in California . Here’s what happened: the Moraga school district has responded to a suit by adult victims who were underage at the time. One perpetrator, having gone to trial, has been found guilty of offenses specifically against Kristen Cunnane, but that didn’t stop the district from laying the blame at her feet in its filing.

In fact, they actually  claimed she was careless and negligent–yes, when she was a preteen being molested by a teacher.

The district and three other defendants claim Cunnane “was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims,” in the Oct. 24 legal filing.

“Carelessness and negligence on (Cunnane’s) part proximately contributed to the happenings of the incident and to the injuries, loss and damages,” they claim.

When she read the legal response, Cunnane, 30, said she was floored.

“It felt like I got punched in the stomach, and I stood up and thought about how young I was when I was 12 to 13 years old at the school,” said Cunnane, whose suit was filed in September. “For them to use words like ‘negligent’ and ‘responsible’ just broke my heart.”

The district’s legal counsel says that by using this language, it’s simply exhausting every avenue for defense against these allegations, but lawyers who work with these kinds of cases maintain that this kind of excuse doesn’t hold:

A youth law attorney said he understands the district’s need to include many affirmative defenses in its legal response to the suit but said that assigning responsibility to Cunnane for the abuse was inappropriate.

“I think it is reprehensible to place the blame on the young girl who was victimized,” said William Grimm, senior attorney with Oakland-based National Center for Youth Law. “The district’s defense has to be plausible … and this doesn’t even pass the smell test, in my opinion.”

As Cunnane says in the story, and as advocates who work with victims know, it’s very difficult for many victims, whatever the circumstances, to stop blaming themselves because they’ve internalized rape culture.

Actions like the district’s only make these problems worse.

When victims are blamed instead of perpetrators and denied agency over their bodies, it’s no wonder that politicians feel they can say things like Washington congressional candidate John Koster did, the latest in a long line of Republicans.

John Koster, a Republican running in Washington’s 1st Congressional District, was  caught on tape  explaining his opposition to rape exceptions in abortion bans in language opponents deem  callous.

“[I]ncest is so rare, I mean, it’s so rare,” Koster says in a recorded interview with an activist from Fuse Washington, a liberal group. “But the rape thing … you know, I know a woman who was raped and kept her child, gave it up for adoption, she doesn’t regret it. In fact, she’s a big pro-life proponent. But on the rape thing, it’s like, how does putting more violence onto a woman’s body and taking the life of an innocent child that’s a consequence of this crime, how does that make it better? You know what I mean?”

These people can’t even give victims agency in their language about assault.

*Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

More from Styleblazer

More from Mommynoire

MadameNoire Video

Comment Disclaimer: Comments that contain profane or derogatory language, video links or exceed 200 words will require approval by a moderator before appearing in the comment section. XOXO-MN
  • Pingback: 57 Year Old Vice Principal Arrested for Allegedly Raping 12 Year Old Student in Ekiti | Bella Naija()

  • Pingback: Missing 16-Year-Old’s Body Found Just Days After She Was Reported Missing | download free music to mp3download free music to mp3()

  • Pingback: Missing 16-Year-Old’s Body Found Just Days After She Was Reported Missing - EyeOnCelebs()

  • Pingback: Missing 16-Year-Old’s Body Found Just Days After She Was Reported Missing | MtdWorld-Wide()

  • http://twitter.com/Nerdstradamas Kendra

    This is incredible. It really makes you think about who is apart of our justice system, and how some lawyers would sink to any low necessary just to get a shot at winning a case. If a child can at all be negligent, or irresponsible for crimes committed against her at school, then what’s the use of parents entrusting their children to these institutions? And if victims are simply going to be blamed for crimes committed against them, what’s the use of the law.

    Statements like these are definitely made by prejudice, narrow minded individuals that live in a bubble, and never have to deal with crippling issues such as rape, violence, poverty, and so on…so it’s easy for them to sit on their high horse and place blame on those that are suffering…Truly incredible. My heart goes out to her and I hope she receives the justice she deserves.

    • http://twitter.com/Nerdstradamas Kendra

      And what’s the deal with phrases such as “rape thing” or “incest thing” it sounds like that politician is trying to turn these crimes into vague, unfounded, unclear events by attaching “thing” to the word. Rape is rape, and incest is incest. They are very real.

  • ijs

    They talk like this until its one of their daughters, sisters, or cousins smh these ppl are heartless

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1023727973 Nonya Bizness

    I live in Nor Cal, so I’m familiar with Moraga, and it’s an AFFLUENT area. How can a child or anyone else be “careless and negligent” in a way that would make them responsible for such a vile act happening to them? SMDH I’ve HATED CA schools since my son started Kindergarten. This is so sad, and I hope she receives JUSTICE!

  • londaj

    I had to read this twice to make sure that I understood correctly since when is a rape victim responsible for someone else’s actions especially when it’s a 12 yr old child. These people need to be absolutely sued

  • Candy Barr

    That happened here in California. I saw the news and the victim was interviewed. Why are you using pictures of Black females for the story?

  • theBAYAREArealist

    ha, a response like this in the supposed “liberal mecca” of the country…california edu system is so fractured that they’d blame a 12 yr old for being molested to save money. the same money they won’t dole out for new textbooks, activities, or improved facilities anyway. one of the many reasons i left. it’s stunning that this would seem okay even in legal speak.

  • theBAYAREArealist

    ha, a response like this in the supposed “liberal mecca” of the country…california edu system is so fractured that they’d blame a 12 yr old for being molested to save money. the same money they won’t dole out for new textbooks, activities, or improved facilities anyway. one of the many reasons i left. it’s stunning that this would seem okay even in legal speak.

  • CS

    the response would have been different had it been one of their kids!
    this story makes me sick!

  • Zettai

    This is awful, and I hope everyone who blames the victim or thinks rape is an “act of god” should be raped themselves. I guess that is what hell is for but for some people it doesn’t come quick enough.

  • Candacey Doris

    Can you give me the address of that school? Because someone needs to get a serious beating. Blaming a 12 year old for rape? I hope they get sued for all they have.

  • ieshapatterson

    this is sick.the simple fact,that their just brushing this off their shoulders,like mud off their shoes,is just sicking.

  • Nenah

    Responses like this are exactly why women are reluctant to press charges when they’re raped.

  • Meyaka

    Oh my God!!!!!!! What is going on with this world????? I don’t care if she was doing the “uh uh uh uh” dance in his face she is 12 years old!!!!!!!!! And the school system is condoning these actions? What thee hell????