Victims rights versus offender rights

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My friend’s son was sitting in his car in the high school parking lot.  He’s a big boy, but even big boys are defenseless once they’re in a vehicle with a seat belt on.  The window was down because you know, it’s warm and secondly, this *is* the high school parking lot.  If you drove a car in high school, would you roll up the window and miss out on everything??  I know I wouldn’t.

He’s sitting in his car, this kid was waiting for him to get in the car, ran up and punched him in the head two or three times before he ran off.  My friend’s son ended up with a pretty good black eye and bump on his head and few other scrapes and bruises.  Police were involved, I think charges were laid and etc etc.  No witnesses because again, this is a high school.  If the kids saw anything, most would stay quiet out of fear of any retaliation; if the adults saw anything, unfortunately, a lot of them choose to stay quiet out of fear of retaliation too – but sometimes they’re more scared of the parents.

Assailant gets a 5 day suspension from the school and is placed on conditions from the police to not go within so many meters or miles or whatever of the victim.

2 days later, the assailant comes into my friend’s son’s shop class and sits two seats down from him.

For some reason, the school cut his suspension early (well, no one at the school actually *saw* the assault so for some reason that seems to justify letting the suspension end early…).  The victim leaves the class and goes to see the principal to tell him the assailant is in class.  Turns out, the school does not or will not or cannot (not sure which one) do anything about it.  Apparently release conditions laid out by the police and our courts don’t count in a high school because that infringes on the assailants right to an education.  The victim, however, doesn’t HAVE to stay in that class, they can drop out if they want.

Surprised?  Don’t be.  So as a victim, not only are you normally blamed for the assault (what did you DO to make him hit you???), you have to accommodate your life because the assailant’s rights “win” and your right to an education, well, that doesn’t count.

This is not an isolated incident.  I really wish it was but it happens all the time.  We see it most often with teenaged girls who are sexually assaulted and forced to go to school with their rapist, in the same class, in the same hallways with all the triggers and anxiety and stress – or maybe just drop out or change schools.  It kind of explains why so many kids end up not finishing high school after they’ve been assaulted.  Do you realize what typically happens once a kid drops out of school, even for those reasons?  They usually don’t make it back.  Nowadays, you need a college degree to work at McDonald’s.  It’s not like it used to be sister.  No education means a life of low income jobs (if you can find one) and very limited opportunities available to you.  It’s hard to work towards your dreams when you feel like you’re not worth even a high school diploma because let’s face it, what’s the message that we give our kids when we tell them that the assailant gets to go to school and you have to just suck it kid.  We tell them they’re not worth it – damaged goods, maybe responsible, maybe not important, definitely they don’t belong.

Imagine as an adult being sexually assaulted by your coworker and then being forced to work with them in the same office and being told that you can just quit if you don’t like it.

There are times when we do a crappy job of protecting our kids, and this is one of them.  Why do we reward aggressive behaviour in society by making sure their rights and privileges and freedoms aren’t infringed in anyway, often at the cost of someone else’s life or freedom or mental health?  We really need to change that.  For more information on how to start changing this, please visit  http://crcvc.ca/

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Categories: Assault, Children, Sexual assault, Teenagers, Victimization

Tags: , , , , , ,

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