Audrie Potts. That name mean anything to you? I’m going to assume it doesn’t. You may remember College Magazine’s earlier coverage of Steubenville wherein two human-waste rapists assaulted a young girl, tried to cover it up and showed zero remorse. Well, not to rain on everyone’s parade, but this is worse.
Californian high-schooler Audrie Potts was raped by at least three classmates. Boys she had known for years. After the rape, much like Jane Doe in Steubenville, she was mocked and harassed in school—the narrative was the same, she was “crying rape” and damaging the future of her attackers. You know what the difference between this case and Steubneville is? Audrie committed suicide—she died on September 12th.
There are a number of problems with this situation, and it’s clearly a tragedy that needs to be addressed especially with this month being Sexual Assault Awareness Month. We’ve talked before about the need to change the culture of rape that exists in this country. We’ve talked about the need to pay evil unto evil, to call out those who commit these sorts of atrocities (the term is aptly chosen because that’s exactly what this is). And we’ve talked about how there should be no sympathy for the disgusting people who perpetrate these crimes. But in this instance, I don’t want to attack her attackers; I want to talk about the accomplice.
This is, sadly, not the first case of this kind. In fact, there have recently been a number of similar cases. Well, in the legal business, we call that reasonably foreseeable. You know what that means? It means that when a girl is raped a high school has every reason to anticipate that she will be bullied, shamed and that the situation will go from bad to worse.
Because of this, they then have a responsibility. If they can foresee the harm—and they very well can—they have a responsibility to step up and prevent it. After the events of Steubenville, I think any school should be able to anticipate the aftermath of something like this. More importantly: If they don’t take decisive action to stop it, then as far as I’m concerned, they’re facilitators.
This may come across as radical, but it isn’t. The institutions to which we entrust our young people have an obligation to act in their best interests. Steubenville’s Big Red failed. Audrie’s high school failed. They should be taken to task for this failure. As much as the existence of the human sacks of waste who perpetrated these crimes is worrying, what's more worrying is that we’re all willing to give their schools a pass. I say no. They failed these girls. They didn’t care, or didn’t care enough, and either way it’s one and the same. Now, let’s put a duty on them to care. And let’s communicate it the American way. Let them pay, and pay, and pay. If they have to go without new cheerleader uniforms next year, well then I guess we’ll just have to live with that.
Pictures from army.mil and girlshealth.gov