Apple pie, football, and cheerleaders could be considered a “normal” way of American life. A Silsbee, Texas, high school cheerleader had to cheer for her rapist. A Federal Appeals court ruled that the women did not have a First Amendment right to refuse to cheer. Are you kidding me?
It began one night when a female student decided to attend a party after a football game. As a result, the young woman ended up being assaulted by 3 football players. She was thrown onto the floor raped and left half naked, sobbing under a pool table.
What happened to the football assailants? Well, her rape kit was delayed a year in processing. There is currently a national epidemic of rape kits being backlogged because of lack of funding, interest, and volume.
After 9 months of indictments, the victim’s rapists were back at school and playing sports. At one game, she refused to cheer for her rapist. How did the school respond? The principal, assistant principal, and cheerleading team official told her to cheer or go home.
The victim’s family claims that her First Amendment rights have been violated. According to ABC News: “In the recent decision to uphold a dismissal of her case in the Fifth Circuit United States Court of Appeals, the judges said that as part of the cheerleading team, H.S. was acting as a mouthpiece through which SISD (Silsbee Independent School District) could disseminate speech — namely support for its athletic teams.” I guess it’s a case of sit down, shut up, and forget that it ever happened.
The young women and her family have spent two years fighting for what’s right. Honestly, I’m so sick and tired of victims being victimized again by people that should be there to protect them. Bottom line, no one should be forced to cheer for a rapist.
Today, the young woman is no longer a victim. According to ABC News: “..the events of the last two years combined with the delay in the processing of her rape kit have strengthened her resolve.” She is fighting for First Amendment rights for victims and starting college next semester to become a forensic scientist. I’m happy to see that she’s found strength in herself to help others when justice failed her miserably.