Assault victim supports anti-bullying policies in Miami schools

A woman who was sexually assaulted when she was only 15 years old has since become an advocate for implementing anti-bullying policies in the Miami-Dade Public School District. Last week, the woman found a new reason to be happy when the district modified its harassment policies to also protect students and teachers from being bullied or harassed because of their sexual orientation or because of the gender an individual chooses to identify with.

The new clause that has been added to anti-bullying policies will ensure that the rights of more students and teachers are protected and properly defended in incidents of harassment, bullying and assault. However, the woman may always wonder how her life would have been different had she been protected under the new policies in the Miami-Dade Public School District.

While attending a high school in Miami when she was younger, the woman began to question her sexual orientation. She told one of her classmates that she might be gay, but the classmate quickly told others at the school.

After the teen’s secret quickly spread, she suddenly became a victim of assault. “I was abducted from my school and taken to a house and was sexually assaulted by multiple men,” the woman recounted.

She later told the school principal and her parents about the horrifying attack. However, the school principal simply suggested that the teen attend school somewhere else. Before being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder, the woman confessed that she had attempted to commit suicide twice after the assault.

Since the horrible experience, the woman has now created a non-profit called National Voices for Equality, Education and Enlightenment which is dedicated to helping any Miami student who has dealt with harassment and bullying.

Although individuals who have been assaulted are victims, many often feel like it was their fault that the attack happened in the first place. But victims of assault are not the ones to blame.

The attackers, and in some cases, a third party are the ones responsible. Property owners, workplaces and schools are responsible for providing adequate security for patrons, employees, students and residents in order to prevent attacks from occurring. If an attack does occur because a building owner, manager, employer or school district fails to provide adequate security or safety policies, the owner could be held partially liable for a victim’s injuries and damages.

Source:NBC Miami: “New Anti-Bullying Rule In Effect For Miami-Dade Schools,” Donna Rapado and Janie Campbell, 23 July 2011