A Brooklyn, New York, teen was sent home from school for reporting her rape to the principal.
The 13-year-old, who identified herself by her middle initial, G., told BuzzFeed news that a boy in her eighth-grade class at Spring Creek Middle School in Brooklyn secretly filmed himself raping her in April 2015 and then shared it with others. The boy claimed the sex was consensual, but G. said his claim was false.
"It was the most awful thing," she said. "It was bad enough that everyone knew what happened. But knowing that they had seen the video was that much worse.” G. said she didn't want to engage in sexual activity with the boy, but others at the school told her it was her fault for not putting up enough of a fight.
"They said I allowed it to happen to me," she said. "But I had no idea what I was supposed to do."
Though the federal gender equity law Title IX requires schools that receive federal funding to investigate claims of sexual assault, G.'s principal decided to send her home while school officials attempted to handle the situation.
School administrators never reported the incident, nor did they refer her to legal services or counseling. G. wasn't sent home with any work and did not receive any follow-up contact from the school. After a four-day investigation, G.'s mother said the principal transferred her daughter to another school because there was nothing more they could do.
"Everyone was blaming things on me," G. said. "It was so much pressure. I couldn't take it. At times I felt like giving up on my life."
G.'s mother said she knew something wasn't right with her daughter following the rape, when she stopped eating and sleeping, began having panic attacks and complained of excruciating pain.
"I knew something was wrong with my daughter," the mother said. "I could feel her pain in my body, too."
The girl's attorney, Carrie Goldberg, told BuzzFeed news that the school was in the wrong for their handling of the situation, saying that she was "de facto suspended for being a victim."
"That’s how it works: If you don’t feel safe, you’re the one who has to leave," Goldberg said. G. is currently preparing for legal action against the school for violation of the Title IX law.
"Title IX is one cause of action, but there’s a greater standard of care required when you are dealing with underage kids," Goldberg said. "Schools shouldn’t just be afraid of losing federal funding. They should also be afraid of lawsuits, and about jeopardizing the safety and wellbeing of their students.”
In a similar case, charges against five young men who allegedly raped a teen on a playground were recently dropped.