Here's a tale to turn your stomach. H.S. was a teen in Silsbee, Texas, when she was raped by fellow student and football star Rakheem Bolton. After pleading guilty to a lesser charge to avoid jail time, he returned to play for Silsbee High School and she was treated like a pariah.
Bolton was put on the varsity basketball team, which meant that in her role as cheerleader, H.S. would have to cheer for a team that included her rapist. She continued to do so, but refused to cheer for him by name during his individual free throws.
In a display of extreme disrespect for a rape survivor and disregard for her well-being, school officials insisted that H.S. had to scream "Rakheem" with the rest of the cheerleaders, or she'd be kicked off the squad. School officials also pushed H.S. "to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities." She refused these instructions and lost her spot as a cheerleader.
Sounds like Silsbee High School is ground zero for insensitivity towards rape victims. Message to male athletes: It's okay to rape a girl if you can score. Message to cheerleaders: You're interchangeable and nobody cares if you're a victim of sexual assault. Just shut up, cheer, and make our school look good.
We can't let these messages be sent, especially by school officials. Change.org has a petition in support of H.S. Sign it and let them know that this sort of behavior is unacceptable in Silsbee and everywhere else.
My colleague Charlie Zegers has addtional info and links in his story: "Cheerleader Refuses to Cheer Her Rapist, Kicked Off Team."