Governor Mifflin School District is in hot waters after a coach at the high school was allegedly caught trolling around social media posting false and victim-blaming statements about rape. This coach posted that there are "alot [sic] of men out there that have been falsely accused and convicted". His comment is a blatant lie and perpetuate rape culture.
The school district responded on their social media page:
"In response to the recent social media communications directed at our district and regarding the social media activity of an employee: please know that the Governor Mifflin School District takes any and all allegations of inappropriate comments, language, or behavior seriously. We heard your concerns and please be assured that we are reviewing the situation and will respond appropriately. Thank you for your understanding."
Shortly after rape survivors, parents, and concerned tax payers began noticing that their comments expressing concerns were being removed.
"Hard to believe you are taking this seriously when my posts are being deleted"
Wrote a concern member on the school district's Facebook wall. Within minutes that post was also removed.
I spoke with a survivor that requested to remain anonymous. She said this:
"I talked to Dr. Steve Gerhard the district's superintendent. It does not seem to me that he took my allegations seriously. He gave me a non-apology, apology by saying "I am sorry that you feel that way" as if being upset that a member of the high school demonstrated such a heartless attitude towards rape was somehow my fault. The problem IS that a member of the high school felt comfortable and safe enough to make such public internet posting. The problem is not me for expressing my disgust."
But not everybody is taking the side of rape survivors. Rape apologists have been trolling the board attacking anyone that brings up the rape culture problem at Governor Mifflin. When I posted asking if anyone would like to comment for this article a woman by the name of Jennifer Althouse responded by saying "…go try and get famous somewhere else". Huh, what?
The coach is in the position to influence a lot of youth — especially boys and put a real curb on the rape culture at Governor Mifflin School District. Instead he chose to perpetuate the myth that survivors of rape are not to be believed. Now imagine being a student and a survivor and having to read such a comment from a member of your school? From your own coach?
Rape is at an epidemic level that affects everyone. According to RAINN 44% of sexual abuse survivors in the United States are under the age of 18. Girls ages 16–19 are 4 times more likely than the general population to be victims of rape, attempted rape, or sexual assault. In 93% of these cases the perpetrator is someone that the victim knows such as a friend or a classmate.
This is not the first time that Govenor Mifflin school district was in the news. In 2014 Jonathan D. Bell a former swim coach was sentenced to 10 to 20 years in state prison for sexually assaulting students.
Just last month a parent brought to the attention a detail account of the sexual harassment her child was experiencing at Governor Mifflin School District. In a Facebook posting dated February 6th she wrote: "There is a Governor Mifflin Broncos football coach who decided to harass my daughter call her names and spread rumors about my kid to all the little football players including the rumor that my kid was pregnant." Harassing a minor girl and spreading malicious lies about her perceived sexual history IS sexual harassment. It is all part of the rape culture that Governor Mifflin School District is embedded in. The parents reported that she have not seen any changes and it is still a problem for her child.
Judging by the comments on Facebook and the school's past history of sexual abuse a conversation about sexual violence is past due at this school district. It is 2016. It is time to start believing survivors. Let start by educating our youth about the harm of rape culture.
Dr. Steve Gerhard--instead of using your time censoring rape survivors and community members on Facebook that expressed concern perhaps your time could be better spent working to eliminate rape culture in your schools. The world is watching.