What is the Best Way to Handle this Sexual Assault That Happened to my Daughter?

I was debating on even posting this but many heads are better than one. My daughter came in to talk to my wife and I last night with a real serious look on her face.

As she told us what happened to her she was tearing up more and more. She said that some guys are coming up to her in the hallway at school (she is 14 btw) and touching her breasts and then running off. This not an isolated incident it has happened a few times before she said. She didn’t want to feel like a tattle tale (why she hasn’t told us or the teacher before) and she also said she was little worried about what I would do to the boys. I am pretty protective dad for those of ya’ll that don’t know.

My first reaction was for her her to slap em across the face as hard as she wanted to. But she was worried she would be sent to some detention(sp) thing. I told her don’t worry I would handle that. She wouldn’t be punished at all when I got through with the school board.

Then after I slept on it I told her this morning not to slap em ( I am afraid some mean punk might punch her then I would end up in prison.) instead I told her to tell the principle.

Did I do right? Or should I go down and talk to the principle myself? Or what other ideas do ya’ll have to hanldle this troubling situation?

I think you did the right thing. These boys need to learn that you can’t do that. Try that out of school and you may end up in jail. I’d make sure the principal made sure the boys understand that next time you may take legal action against them. I don’t think slapping them would have solved anything, except encourage them (and others) to do it more. Hell, you could probably even threaten legal action against the school to force them to do something about it.

I am not a lawyer by the way, so I have no idea if there is any legal action you can take against (i’m assuming here) a 14 yr. old guy.

And remember, the principal is your PAL.

First off allow me to say how sad this is. Such actions are things I would never have dreamed of at age 14. You have my sympathies.

Contact the dean or principal at once. I doubt that they will let you confront the boys involved personally, but request that they are immediately put on notice. Some ideas:

[li]Immediate 1-2 day suspension[/li]
[li]Expulsion for repeat offense[/li]
[li]1,000 word handwritten essay[/li]
[li]Attending “sensitivity” or awareness training classes[/li]
[li]A talk with a police officer about sex offenses[/li]
[li]Make sure the parents must all attend as well[/li]
[li]Personally talk to the parents[/li]
[li]Public and handwritten letters of apology[/li]
These little cretins must have it impressed upon them that what they are doing is both illegal and highly offensive. Their parents must be dragged through this to maximize their inconvenience. A juvenile record should await any of them that dares to repeat this assault on your daughter or anyone else. This sort of behavior is a “gateway” to many other forms of wrong conduct. Go after these jerks in a big way. If you get stonewalled, hire a lawyer, this stinks.

I would talk to the principle myself, and most likely make sure at least a police report was made. 14 is not exactly a child, and they definately know better.

You were right to tell your daughter to go to the principal. If she had hit the boys who were assaulting her then she might have gotten into trouble herself; if she couldn’t prove that they had been harassing her then she might have been the only one to get into trouble. I think you should also call the principal yourself to make sure that the boys responsible are punished. Some prinipals do not take these things seriously and either ignore the problem or let the guilty parties off with a lecture or some slap-on-the-hand detention. It is important that these boys realize that what they did was wrong and criminal.

I am very sorry that your daughter is in this situation. I had to go through similar things when I was her age, and it was terrible. But you can at least be glad that she told you about it. Many girls do not talk to their parents about these things because they are ashamed or because they do not trust their parents.

Absolutely you did the right thing.

For her to hit them would probably A. get her in trouble
B. Not stop the attacks anyhow.

I’d follow up with the school, too, maybe offer to go in with her if she would like you to. (depending on if the principal is male or female, she may find it easier).

try and get from her other info to bolster it up -
dates/times as closely as she can remember, witnesses if any, and any other info she remembers (for example, if they laughed while running off, or she overheard them bragging about it etc.).

Specifically, after she’s talked with the principal, let them know that you personally will be following up. You will want to know what action was taken regarding them, what actions will be taken in future.

Frankly one of the things that often come up wrong in the schools (from my perspective) is that they often seem to want to deal with stuff ‘in house’, especially crap like this, while other stuff gets routinely handed over to the cops.

I believe that if they talk with the guys involved, give them consequences (such as detention, suspension etc.) that it should rectify the situation. Make sure that some measure of “and if you go back to the victim again and in any way attempt to intimidate or hurt her or if any of their friends do, further action would be taken” - that needs to go in to their little pea brains.

Furthermore, follow up with the school. If there are further incidents, then I believe the police **should ** be involved. And certainly then take the issue up with the school board.

Sorry for all of you, the situation stinks.

(also like Zensters letters of apologies. suspect you may have difficulty w/the contacting the other parent thing, tho’

The fact that these boys grab and run seems to suggest to me that we are dealing with the end of prepubescent behavior between boys and girls. I suggest you ask your daughter if she is comfortable enough in issuing a stern warning that the consequence of any more bad behavior will lead to reporting to the principal. To me it is preferrable for her to handle the problem herself with her parents guidance and support.
If she is not, then I would suggest that both parents report the problem to the principal. The last thing you want to do is is get between these boys and your daughter. You will embarrass her, and the situation could easily escalate out of control.

I have no professional expertise in this matter. However I have satisfactorily raised one daughter who has left the nest, and remember a girl who threatened to tell on me when I grabbed her breast(I was about 14). Trust me that I was scared shitless, and quite appreciative that the matter could stop right there.

I think you did the right thing, too. Everybody’s advice is right on the mark, so I don’t have much to add. Much luck to resolving this issue soon. Keep us posted! :wink:


I agree entirely with wring that you should let the principal know about the assult and inform her that if it happens again you will call the police and have them handle the matter.

The only suggestion that I would add, is that if you have the time and the gumption (I can tell from your post that you do), that you go meet with the principal in person. Dealing with school administrators on the phone for minor transgressions is fine. But, in such a serious situation as the one you have laid out, I suspect an unexpected personal visit from you will impress upon the teachers and administrators the concern with which you view this.

The school has a legal obligation to take steps to prevent these assaults. I’d say your best bet is to tell the principal and ask him to ensure that the harassment stops. If you tell the school and they do nothing, the school can be held financially liable. Davis v. Monroe County Bd. of Educ., 529 U.S. 629 (1999).

See Bill, sexual harassment laws are your friend! :wink:

By coming to you, your daughter obviously trusts you. Now, you want to see if she’s comfortable handling this by herself.

Ask her if she wants to talk to the principal by herself, or if she wants your help. Accommodate her needs. She might be too scared to do it on her own.

I would want the principal to punish the offendors, and then to threaten police action if they retaliate or continue their sexual advances.

I have a newborn daughter, and this kind of stuff scares the holy shit out of me. I feel for you.

Thanks for the input people. But just got off the phone with her and now I have another kink. She doesn’t want me to talk to the principal about this. She said she wants to handle it by telling the kids that do it that she will sue or something if they touch her anymore.

I ask her why she doesn’t want to go to the principal and she says she doesn’t want everybody to hate her. Man it must be hell being a teenager with this kind of pressure in this day in time. So now what should a I do?

Id have told her to hit them. No boy is going to go whining that a girl hit him and it would stop it.

What you should do is tell the principal to issue a warning about stuff like that.

Go to the principal, tell him to have his staff keep an eye on the little bastards. They do it again, wham! They’re busted, and your daughter’s not a narc.

yes, it’s hell.
Unfortunately, I think that her tactic of telling them she’ll sue will get her more flack from the other students.

Try talking to her calmly tonight, about how what’s these boys are doing is criminal behavior, that she has a right to be safe at school, and they are preventing that.

And, (and this is important), if they are doing it to her, they are most likely doing it to other girls, too, who might not be as strong as she is, and able to take care of themselves. - what this will hopefully do is let her think of other more vulnerable girls who wouldn’t have the guts to stand up to these boys, wouldn’t have the guts to tell her parents and would simply keep on getting assaulted. butter her up a lot - “see, Cindy, how much it took for **you **, a strong confident young woman, to be able to talk to even me about it, think of how scarey it would be for other girls who aren’t as strong and brave as you”.

and then schedule the meeting with the principal.

I find it really hard to believe that these boys are only attacking your daughter. I am sure other girls are getting assaulted in the same way, but also aren’t saying anything. If she goes to the principal, at least the school can be made aware of the situation. There is no reason why the principal should then let the boys or anyone else know it was your daughter, specifically, who talked about it.

In talking with the principal, she (or you) could request that she stay anonymous. That way, the boys can’t connect her with their getting into trouble.

This kind of behavior makes me really angry, and it’s doubly troublesome that your girl has so much self-esteem tied up into it. Not to get all pop-psychology on you guys, but it’s so typical, especially at that age, for girls to do just about anything to avoid rocking the boat and thus risking someone’s enmity, even if that someone is a little snot-nosed shit like those boys. I remember being that way. Please assure her that protecting herself is the best thing she can do-- and she’s probably protecting other girls, too.

Give me their names. I’ll find em.

Well, not really… I don’t want GBH to a juvenile on my rap sheet…

I admire the fact that your daughter has enough trust in you as a parent to tell you about this. The most important thing you can do is maintain that trust. She’s probably scared to death that you might come charging in to school to protect her, but only succeed in embarrasing her further.

Let her try to handle the matter for herself, and don’t give her any sort of ultimatum; if she suspects that you might go behind her back to the principal, she might hide stuff from you in the future. My parents would do that; their embarassing me over my (relatively) minor problems only caused me to hide the bigger ones from them.

If she’s unable to keep the little pricks off her back by herself, though, it sounds like she’d let you know. In which case, you should unleash the wrath of God.

A better solution than you going directly to the principal might be for her to tell this to a trusted teacher, counselor, or some other school authority figure, at least to document the cases and keep the matter relatively private.

Bill, if your daughter is serious about trying to handle this herself then have her tell them the truth. She will have them arrested if they ever repeat such an offense.

You really need to get the names of these kids into the principal’s hands though. This sort of activity has to be nipped in the bud or it just gets worse.

If you can possibly contact the parents this is the best way to raise Hades with teenagers. It is very honorable of you to make your daughter a player in this. She will have a better sense of self and feel more empowered when she is able to stop this by herself. Just don’t hesitate to come down like a ton of bricks if this persists.

As someone who dealt with boys in school, and someone who didn’t tell her parents for year and years, I think it’s worth it to reiterate how fantastic it is that your daughter trusts you this much.

Secondly, do NOT approach anyone in the school against your daughter’s will. You will betray her trust. What these boys are doing is a crime, and you better believe that word of students getting charged as sex offenders as 14 year olds will spread like wildfire in high school. She is the one who is going to have to deal with that, and that has to be HER decision.

Given that, you can get her into counciling. Pronto. She has been abused. She needs help. A decided benefit is that when she feels a bit better about herself, she might decide to go to the authorities. But that MUST be her decision. If your insurance doesn’t cover counciling (some states have laws that say that mental health counciling must be treated equally to physical health doctor’s appointments,) call or email RAINN. They’ll help you find some help.

Do not treat this lightly. This kind of thing can effect the way she views men for the rest of her life. I know.

Face to face, tonight, after dinner (or sometime) lay out as many options as you can think of (she talks to the principal, you or your wife talks to the principal, she just warns the cretins a warning not to do it anymore, you talk to a lawyer, someone (you or her) talks to a teacher, you go straight to the police, switching schools, anonymous letters, anything that comes to mind.)
And then talk through ALL of them, list the positive and negative consequences of doing each of these. (And remind her to be honest about how likely she thinks it is to stop them, and don’t devalue “everyone will hate me.” or dismiss that as trivial or nothing, but get her to weigh how important that is vs. getting harrassed.)

And then, let her decide what she wants to do now, and what she wants to do if Plan A doesn’t work. But I really, strongly agree with black455 that she needs to make the decision here.