High School Cheerleader Kicked Off Squad for Refusal to Cheer for Her Rapist

The more things change, the more they stay the same.  The attitude that a woman who has been raped should feel and be shamed is outrageous and I think most women thought we had put that behind us.  Evidently not.

Rah, rah, sis boom bah: Silsbee High School in Texas wants their cheerleaders smiling, energetic, and willing to cheer for their rapists by name. Go team!

H.S., a Silsbee student, reported being raped in 2008 by Rakheem Bolton, a fellow student and athletic star, with the help of two of his friends. In the end, Bolton recently ended up getting off without serving any jail time by pleading guilty to a lesser assault charge, spending two years on probation, doing community service, paying a fine, and attending anger management courses. Hardly seems like an adequate punishment, but it’s unfortunately not uncommon for attackers to bargain down their charges. What really gets the blood boiling is how the students’ high school treated the victim when the rape charge was levied.

Bolton was set to be on the school’s varsity basketball team, and they couldn’t risk losing by barring him from playing for a silly thing like a rape charge. That could impact their chances at winning. Who cares about the traumatic impact it would have an a cheerleader who needed to vocally support a team including her rapist?

But H.S. fulfilled her role as a cheerleader, participating in all the cheers for the team as a group. She simply refused to shout the first name of the man who assaulted her when he stood up alone to make free throws. It seems like she was being more than accommodating, when an student athlete facing trial on rape charges most likely should have been suspended from the team, even if his presence wasn’t a source of immediate distress to his victim in her position as cheerleader. In a display of extreme disrespect for a rape survivor and disregard for her well-being, school officials insisted that H.S. had to scream “Rakheem” with the rest of the cheerleaders, or she’d be kicked off the squad.

Not only that, Caroline Heldman reports on Ms. Magazine’s blog that school officials pushed H.S. “to keep a low profile, such as avoiding the school cafeteria and not taking part in homecoming activities.” As though she should somehow be ashamed for having been raped and brought charges against her attacker. Where exactly was she supposed to eat so as to not cause discomfort to the star athlete? H.S. also refused to take this offensive “advice.”


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16 Responses to High School Cheerleader Kicked Off Squad for Refusal to Cheer for Her Rapist

  1. skyagunsta says:

    Isn’t this the same strand of thinking that has Clarence Thomas’s wife calling on Anita Hill to make an apology to Clarence Thomas for HIS subjecting HER to his … seediness: CredoAction.com has written this which is what made me think of just how these two stories are tied together, “Twenty years ago, Professor Hill described how the now Supreme Court justice subjected her to descriptions of pornography he had watched, bragged about his own sexual prowess in graphic terms and famously reached for a soft drink in her office and remarked, “Who has put pubic hair on my Coke?”2

    Dismayingly, Anita Hill was savaged in a sexist spectacle that shocked the nation, and Clarence Thomas was confirmed to the Supreme Court by a vote of 52-48, succeeding the legendary Thurgood Marshall.

    Amidst the controversy, conservatives rushed the swearing in of Thomas. On the very day of his swearing in, the Washington Post had amassed damning evidence that corroborated Hill’s testimony, including eyewitness accounts about Thomas’ porn consumption from the manager of his local video store. Jeffrey Toobin reported that the Washington Post decided to drop the story since Thomas had already been sworn in to the court.3

    Virginia Thomas is asking the wrong person to apologize. Demand Clarence Thomas apologize to Anita Hill.

    Virginia Thomas is a well known Tea Party activist who founded a shadowy right-wing organization in the wake of Citizens United.4 Her agenda in approaching Anita Hill with her outrageous request is unclear. But it’s yet another example of brazen attempts by Tea Party adherents to rewrite history and claim victimhood for the powerful even as they launch attack after attack on minority groups — be they women, gays, African Americans, or immigrants.”

    The article ends this way, “We shouldn’t ignore this bizarre incident. We should accept Virginia Thomas’ challenge and defend history as we know it.

    We believe Anita Hill. It’s Clarence Thomas who should apologize” and contains a petition for people to sign into this demand that Clarence Thomas should apologize to Anita Hill.

    Silsbee High School could well take a page from the Credo Action article and demand that H.S’s rapist (and the whole school which wants her (the victim) to apologize to the perpetrator) apologize, all of them, to her: H.S. the victim who is being re-victimized with this request of her to apologize to him.

    I know Ali is not going to like this but this country started its regressive move on the day Jr. and his family stole the 2000 election. For all the money the Bushes have and all of the fancy schooling they had, they backward, regressive thinking people and that is the direction they took the country in … (and I could go on so much morem but I won’t.)

    Sage Reply:

    You are absolutely correct, IMO. Under Bush, black was white and white was black. The Clean Air was anything but, No Child Left Behind left a nation of children behind. That’s not even to mention all of the so-called ‘feminists’ who are anti-choice and support a system that calls for women to be submissive to men.

    Young women need to wake up and realize they are losing much of what so many women worked so hard to achieve in the terms of rights for women. I hope they don’t wait until it’s too late.

    timesr Reply:

    @Sage, “Young women need to wake up and realize they are losing much of what so many women worked so hard to achieve in the terms of rights for women. I hope they don’t wait until it’s too late.”

    You are correct. I do remember the separate “Men” and “Women” employment sections in the classifieds; the comment “good money for a woman” as it applied to a woman’s job that paid well. I remember when a woman lost all her credit after a divorce and had to rebuild from scratch…and on and on. It wasn’t all about abortion.

    timesr Reply:

    @skyagunsta, “We should accept Virginia Thomas’ challenge and defend history as we know it.”

    That whole story is just bazaar. Its hard to imagine any woman playing with a full deck making a call like that after all this time.

    Our California governor wannabe, Meg Whitman, seems to have raised an abusing son. So far her money has spared him the consequences of his behavior.

    “The victim allegedly didn’t go to the police for fear of “social repercussions of accusing such a high-profile student of rape,” one whose mother donated $30 million to build the ivy league school’s Whitman College.”


    Actually two abusing sons.

    AliSilver Reply:

    @skyagunsta, Why would I not like that?

    AliSilver Reply:

    @AliSilver, I have no problem blaming bushes for whatever they’ve done. I do have a problem assuming all the problems came from bushes and that there was no backroom deals and corrupt politicians before bushes. That’s naivety .

  2. AliSilver says:

    The flip side of this is , ( i agree that girls are victimized over and over and over again) BUT because this boy was a star and brought glory to the school, he is forgiven and then even exalted for what HE had to go through. If he had just been a regular kid who didnt’ excel in sports and popularity this would have gone the other way I’m sure. Same thing going on int he NFL now with Ben Rothliesburger sp* I don’t know if he’s guilty or not but he’s got more than one accusation and he’s playing ball on sunday !

  3. skyagunsta says:

    In, WE WERE THE MULVANEYS, Joyce Carol Oats writes about the effects of rape in the derailing and emotional/cut-off between the members of a family whose daughter is raped by the star high school football player, who does not want to press charges against him, and a father who can’t understnad the daughter’s refusal to do so, and the shame the family feels it has to live with.

    The sadness is that H.S. is not a character in a work of fiction and neither is the high school she attends a setting in a work of fiction.

    I think the only way to stop this sort of abuse of abusing the victim is by exposing the perpetrator, but I understand, the fear behind speaking up and out, especially when the perpetrator is someone who has been placed in some godlike position, or as in the case of the Whitman boys they are loaded with money.

    How sad of just another instance of anything resembling truth being buried in the dungeon of darkness, or Plato’s allegorical cave.

  4. Wizcon says:

    I had an interesting discussion with my 3 daughters a couple of yrs ago. They all agreed that the majority of the girls in their small school lost their virginity thru date rape. In a school where the total grade level is 30- 60 kids, this gets noticed.

    AliSilver Reply:

    @Wizcon, I think today’s young people, WAY more than the youngsters of past generations, think of sex as an entitlement, probably more so the boys. They are ENTITLED to it and so any refusal to give it is ignored. Society is so sexualized a person of 15 years old feels weird and inferior if they haven’t had sex. What a sad place to grow up :(

    skyagunsta Reply:

    @AliSilver, It is not uncommon in the slums to see young girls, as young as 14 or 15, in some cases they even look younger, already with kids their own.
    (Which,Sadly, a slum is what this economic downturn, together with the slum lord who has bought all the abandoned or foreclosed houses around here, to move in all the rift raft he can possibly find that the government pays rent for, is what this neighborhood has turned into, and it is what I see a lot of lately: these very young girls walking home from school and their babies).

    AliSilver Reply:

    @skyagunsta, :(
    I’m not surprised. I just think back to when I was in high school how different it was. Even though we thought we were sneaky and rebellious, NO ONE, not ONE girl in my school had a baby. One girl eventually got pregnant and left school to get married , but that was IT. Granted it was a fairly rural small school and things were already different at big city schools, but not like todoay. The high school where my son goes now has had for over 10 years a program for pregnant and/or mothers to finish their classes . That is a great thing but it’s just sad that it’s necessary. When you are 15 you are SO far from mature, even though you think you are. I can’t imagine trying to start adulthood already with a dependant.

    Wizcon Reply:

    @AliSilver, Summer of 1970. I spent it with my grandmother in a mall town in WI before starting college. The girl next door married her soldier boyfreind before he went to vietnam. She stayed at her parents to finish her senior year. She was NOT pregnant but was not allowed in gym class because she was married.
    Somewhere I have a letter written by one of my mother’s classmates in the same town. Back then country kids would often live in town with a family or as a group in an apt with adult oversight. She talked about one of her roomates becoming sexually active and had to run away with her boyfreind and get married because of a pregnancy. Pretty Juicy stuff.

    Sage Reply:

    And ultimately the girl is always the one that had to ‘pay’ for being sexually active while the boys were patted on the back for it.

    AliSilver Reply:

    @Sage, I wonder if that is because a girl is the one who bears the PHYSICAL and proverbial scarlet letter,,,, the pregnant belly. That is a guy can always claim NOT ME, etc. But once a girl is pregnant there is really no denying what happened. At that point it’s the details but hte ACT took place.

    Sage Reply:

    My best friend got pregnant in high school. She graduated when she was about 6 months pregnant and not one word was ever said to her by the school principal or a teacher.

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