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Content Warning: This article discusses sexual assault, bullying, victim blaming and child pornography.
Monday, November 24th, 2014, 639 students (about 30% of the student body) at Norman High School in Norman, Oklahoma did what most high schoolers dream of: they walked out of class en masse at 9:20 in the morning. They were protesting the bullying of three rape survivors after they returned to school and the high school’s alleged inaction about bullying and administrative mistreatment of the girls after they came forward. All three girls are reportedly victims of the same assailant.
An unnamed 16-year-old student from Norman High School was sexually assaulted on September 19th, 2014. She was raped and sodomized while incoherent. The assault was videotaped by the 18-year old male attacker and sent out to her peers. The boy admits to the sex acts while she was passed out in an audio file on Youtube, recorded while he was bragging to an un-named friend (warning: very disturbing and explicit content).
When the survivor returned to school, she faced horrific bullying and victim-blaming. She was suspended from school for three days for hitting a male student with her backpack after he approached her and said, “I hear you love being raped in the ass.” That boy has reportedly been allowed to return to class, while the girl has not. When the story got out, a 14-year-old student came forward, stating she had been assaulted by the same male student. Then a third girl also spoke out, saying she had been assaulted in January of last year on school property while dating him. Both of them have also been bullied, threatened and harassed at school to the point where they have had to withdraw from class.
The high school administration claims it wasn’t blaming the victims by suspending the first reporter for striking out at someone who verbally assaulted her in an intentionally degrading manner after a violent attack. The 14-year-old was suspended for being under the influence of drugs on school property (she was reportedly still feeling the effects of the drugs given to her by the assailant), and the school nurse immediately told her mother that she was driving around with boys doing drugs when her mother showed up (and not that the girl had intimated she was raped, which she says she had).
A local feminist knitting circle helped to bring the story to national attention by reaching out to Jezebel, for an article published last Friday. Hundreds of students rallied after walking out of class, in the hopes of demanding a safer school and more effective anti-bullying policies.
Despite recording and sending out said video of himself engaged in a sex act with a minor (which is a crime under child pornography laws, if nothing else) and his recorded confession of the first assault, the alleged attacker is still free. No formal charges have been brought against the 18-year old male student, being identified by students on social media as Tristen Cole Killman, at the time of publication. Police state the investigation is “ongoing.”
Follow the YES ALL Daughters campaign on Facebook for updates on this case and their activism efforts fighting rape culture in Norman, Oklahoma.
For previous Ladybud articles that deal with rape culture, click here.
Photo Credit: YES ALL Daughters Facebook