We have heard a lot this year about the so-called “War On Women”. Conservatives on the one hand want to say there is no war, liberals strongly state the opposite.
Personally, I find it incredible that anyone c0uld deny such a war exists with all the recent legislation regarding women’s reproductive healthcare services, comments by bloviating ignoramuses such as Rush Limbaugh, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akins. Hell there is even a website now showing how many days it has been since a Republican mentioned “rape” while campaigning.
The official Republican National Committee Platform presents the harshest take on women’s issues in decades and their candidate for president, Mitt Romney, refuses to say where he stands on women’s pay – even after repeated questions regarding the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.
In the midst of this misogynistic frenzy, one recent news items stands out from all the rest when last week in California, the Moraga School District, alleged that a 12 year old girl, who suffered prolonged sexual abuse spanning years at the hands of two middle school teachers was “careless,” “negligent” and “was herself responsible for the acts and damages of which she claims”.
Let’s think about this one for a minute. A school district, a branch of civic government is saying that a young girl – 12 to 13 years old – is herself responsible for prolonged acts of sexual abuse by 2 of its teachers?
And their response? What about their response?
They did for whatever idiotic reason feel compelled to issue a response, as if anything they could ever write or say could justify their intent.
In their statement they wrote: “We certainly empathize with Ms. Cunnane and did not intend to cause her further distress in filing our formal Answer to her Complaint. However, this is a significant case that could have serious consequences for our school district. She is demanding several million dollars in damages. As a result, at this point in the proceedings we have an obligation not to waive any potential legal lines of defense. … Ms. Cunnane and the media have seized on only one of the nine potential areas and over-exaggerated its importance.”
Now how in the hell does one “empathize” with what essentially amounts to the unprovoked rape of a child? [And for those of you fond of splitting hairs - I write unprovoked because there is no way anyone can reasonably state that a 12 year old child can provoke a sexual act.]
And what about the talk of serious consequences to the school district and millions of dollars in potential damages? What about the serious consequences to a 12 year old child, who as it turns out foolishly thought she was safe at school in the care of teachers? What about the damages to her spirit and body?
And with all due respect, what the hell is this talk about their claim the victim “seized on only one of the nine potential areas and over-exaggerated its importance”? WTF?!?
Are these people serious?
And what about the victim, Ms. Cunnane?
“It’s hard to see that I’m ‘seizing on’ something,” she told KTUV, “because this is my life.” She told the KTUV reporter that she felt the school district response tells rape victims everywhere that they are the ones to blame.
“It felt like I got punched in the stomach, and I stood up and thought about how young I was when I was 12 to 13 years old at the school,” said Cunnane. “For them to use words like ‘negligent’ and ‘responsible’ just broke my heart.”
As reported by the Oakland Tribune, the school district’s attorney stated that the language used in their response was “appropriate” and “necessary” for a civil case with significant ramifications and went on to note that “every potential defense” must be raised in such legal filings, “since failure to do so results in a waiver of the defense.”"It is imperative that all possible defenses be raised at this point in time. As more facts become known, the district will then reassess its defenses”.Ms. Cunnane’s attorney and noted youth law expert, Paul Llewellyn noted: “That (the) defendants would go so far as to blame a child victim of sexual abuse rather than admit or even examine their own wrongdoing is offensive and appalling”.
Again, as reported by the Oakland Tribune “Cunnane was sexually abused by two Moraga middle school teachers in the 1990s, one of them over a four-year period. She sued the district, retired Joaquin Moraga Intermediate School principal Bill Walters, retired assistant principal Paul Simonin and retired superintendent John Cooley in Contra Costa Superior Court, saying they repeatedly ignored allegations of abuse, allowing her and other students to be victimized. The lawsuit alleges negligence, fraudulent concealment, conspiracy to commit fraud and intentional infliction of emotional distress, and cites an investigation by this newspaper as revealing for the first time the district’s knowledge of the alleged abuse.
Former Joaquin Moraga P.E. teacher Julie Correa pleaded guilty to rape and sexual battery against Cunnane over a four-year period beginning in 1996, when Cunnane was an eighth-grader. Cunnane said Correa groomed her after she confided in her that Joaquin Moraga science teacher Daniel Witters had molested her. Witters committed suicide shortly after a group of girls came forward with allegations in 1996, and police stopped investigating him criminally after that.”