Cheerleader Ordered To Cheer Her Rapist, and Other Stories

In 2008 a high school cheerleader joined her friends for a post-football game party. But the fun turned into a nightmare when, she says, four young men sexually assaulted her. A grand jury initially declined to indict, but Rakheem Bolton was eventually charged and pled guilty to simple assault.

Bolton was also on the basketball team. But the 16-year-old refused to root for him. So school officials ordered her to cheer Bolton on, or go home. When she refused, she was cut from the squad.

After suing the district attorney, the school district and the principal, an appeals court ruled against her. 

The school had no problem with her attacker playing on the team. Too important to win! Cheerleaders, however, won’t gain the school any glory. 

The courts often see the world through the eyes of the powerful, too. 

Who gets punished? Well, who’s powerful? 

Case 2: Child Abuse Called “Art”

“Hypothetical question: How would you feel if, as a young teenager, your father asked you to strip down naked so he could film you talking about your confusing, puberty-warped body? Oh, you wouldn’t like it? Really? What if he called it ‘art’?” Asks NYU LOCAL reporter, Keyana Stevens.

New York University purchased the archives of artist, Larry Rivers. But one of his daughters wants to destroy the film entitled “Growing,” telling the New York Times that her father’s coercion in making those films led her to develop anorexia. “It wrecked a lot of my life, actually.”  

But she had no control. And initially NYU refused her request.

Only public outrage turned things around, leading NYU to reject that part of the collection.

Case 3: DA Sends Abusive Texts to Abuse Victim 

In the midst of prosecuting a man accused of domestic violence, District Attorney, Kenneth Kratz began texting the “hot, young” (as he put it) victim hoping to start a sexual relationship.  

Experts called the messages disturbing and unethical, given the power differential between the prosecutor and the young victim. Not to mention heaping abuse on top of abuse.

At first Kratz seemed likely to avoid punishment. State legal regulators said his actions were not technically misconduct. The state crime victims’ rights board, which Kratz had chaired, wasn’t investigating. And Gov. Jim Doyle stayed silent. 

Once again, publicity and shame came to the rescue: Kratz chose to resign.

When it comes to punishment, too often the powerful don’t have to worry as the powerless suffer. Except those rare cases when shock and publicity intervene.

What a sad state of affairs. 

Georgia Platts

Source: “DA keeps jobs despite texting “hot, young nymph” violence victim.” San Jose Mercury News. September 17, 2010

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About BroadBlogs

I have a Ph.D. from UCLA in sociology (emphasis: gender, social psych). I currently teach sociology and women's studies at Foothill College in Los Altos Hills, CA. I have also lectured at San Jose State. And I have blogged for Feminispire, Ms. Magazine, The Good Men Project and Daily Kos. Also been picked up by The Alternet.

Posted on October 11, 2010, in feminism, gender, men, sex and sexuality, sexism, violence against women, women and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. This is why sex traffiking is 3rd in money made behind illigal guns and illegal drugs. You don’t see massive raids and money thrown into forces to correct the problem and it sure isn’t heard about as often as the illegal arms dealings or the drug cartels. Very few efforts are made because women are considered chatel in every country including this one.

  2. These stories are ridiculous and horrible. It’s so unfortunate that,even in our country, with our legal system that says it “gives due process of the law and separate branches of government to provide “checks and balances”, many times, justice isn’t ultimately served. Sometimes it comes down to what you can prove and whether a jury (or whoever else is doing the judging) sides with you. That poor girl had to go through her ordeal all over again at each brick wall she faced when simply trying to get justice. When sports and team spirit is more important than human rights, people clearly need to rethink their priorities.

  3. To be honest I would have fought back and make all kinds of noise in order for people to hear me. It’s hard to believe that no one is standing up for the cheerleaders or for any girl in particular.

    There are so many different definitions and types of art..with and without clothes, but when it comes down to something like that that just crosses the line and it’s literally none of his business, it’s your body.

  4. This reminded me that episode of The Office. An employer, Meredith Palmer (played by Kate Flannery) admitted that she has been sleeping with a supplier in order to get discounts on products for the company on top of Outback Steakhouse gift certificates. Human resource, Holly Flax (played by Amy Ryan) insisted that Meredith should be fired. Later during a conference call, corporate turns a blind eye to Meredith’s unethical behavior; they actually seem to find them kind of useful in tough economic times.

    I think when it comes to punishment; many see it as a big picture. Just as in The Office example, the “little” issue with Meredith does not seem to compare to the entire company gaining profits from such acts. When people have power and access to power, it sure seems they live in another world and don’t follow such laws for the “common” people. I think that seems quite true in the Hollywood world. The stars live another life, they don’t really know the reality, and they wouldn’t have to follow laws. (Though it seems different base on the recent Lohan case) Guess that seems to be part of the world we see all the time but not sure how to change.

    And I think in ways we can but in ways, it’s something we want to avoid.
    Guess that’s just part of life.

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