An assault - What is appropriate response?

Discussion in 'General Self Defense' started by Nomad, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    I got a call yesterday from our daughter's school, and had to pick her up my 11 year old following an "incident" at lunch.

    She was waiting in line behind an older girl (13-14) who was singing inappropriate, sexualized lyrics and generally behaving badly, when the older girl turned and grabbed her crotch, then started walking away. After a moment, she returned, said "Oh sorry, I thought you were someone else" and left again.

    Obviously, this upset her badly, and she told the principal, who then called me in. We were told that it didn't appear to be targeted as the girls didn't really know each other, and that the perpetrator had no history of this sort of thing (although some of the kids appear to think differently, and one teacher confided that the girl had a "unique" and difficult personality when she was in her class).

    At this point, we have not pursued charges, and the school's punishment is pending (it looks like a suspension, which by the timing of spring break, may be only for 1 day). We did make an inquiry and spoke to a police officer who informed us that filing a police report would lead to an arrest, and that we have an incident number to refer to should we choose to go that route.

    My daughter, while shook up, is a strong and resilient girl, and I'm sure she'll be fine.

    My question is, keeping in mind the ages of both girls, what do you think is an appropriate response?
     
  2. Touch Of Death

    Touch Of Death Sr. Grandmaster

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    She may really have thought it was her friend, and it will follow that girl the rest of her life if you do call the cops, but it might save some other girls from being assaulted. I just don't know.
    Sean
     
  3. LuckyKBoxer

    LuckyKBoxer Master Black Belt

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    wait the girl grabbed your daughters crotch? or grabbed her own crotch like some people do as a sort of insult?
    If she grabbed your daughters crotch I would call the police, thats sexual assault plain and simple.
    If the chick did it and left before your daughter could respond then she did the right thing by not pursuing the other girl and assaulting her.
    I might recommend that you let her know if a person is behaving like this girl was, beligerently, cussing, making a scene that she might want to leave the ara or distance herself, especially if the girl has a reputation for being a trouble maker. Then she has time if the girl comes after her to get her hands up in front of her in the "i dont want any trouble" way and start making noise for a supervisor to come intervein... and if not and the girl charges then at least her hands are up to keep distance between the other girl and herself..

    damn thats ridiculous though, why the hell would anyone do that?? lame sorry you ahve to deal with nonsense like this.
     
  4. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Yes, she grabbed my daughter's crotch, and yes, I realize that it counts as a sexual assault quite plainly, and could be grounds for criminal charges.

    Like many things, it happened quickly, and left her in a bit of shock (personally, I recommended quick step in elbow to jaw at the moment of the assault, but completely understand that she froze... and pointed out to her that it was a natural reaction for someone not used to that sort of violence).

    Why would a 13-14 year old girl do something like this? I was wondering if she might be passing on learned behavior from an abusive situation in her own life (and passed on this thought; the school will be investigating this angle as well), or it could just be that she's a screwed up kid.

    We did call the cops... we just haven't yet filed an official report which would lead directly to her arrest.
     
  5. Never_A_Reflection

    Never_A_Reflection Blue Belt

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    I would file charges. If nothing else it should bring to light whether that girl is being abused (which seems likely) and get her out of that situation so she can get help.
     
  6. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Better to start the paper trail, in the event there're future incidents, either with your daughter or another student. I'm wondering what the 'unique and difficult' personality, is, that this girl supposedly has.
     
  7. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Bump.

    Are there any other thoughts on this, or do most people agree with what's been posted here so far?

    The consensus here and among those I've spoken with personally appears to be that we should press charges and let the system figure it out. One problem with that is my daughter doesn't want to, and wants the entire thing to just go away (we've explained a few reasons why this might not be a good idea, and let her know that at 11, she doesn't get the final say in this, though we do take her opinion into account).
     
  8. KELLYG

    KELLYG 2nd Black Belt

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    If this was a guy grabbing your daughter would the "appropriate response" be a question? If you found out the young lady that grabbed your daughter was a lesbian would it change your mind? Is your daughter afraid to press charges due to social pressure? Or, was it after thinking about it no big deal? Just thinking out loud, offering a different prospective. I hope that there is a satisfactory resolution to this issue.
     
  9. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Well I think you need to weight your options and figure out what is best for you and your daughter. That would be priority number one for me! Then how will this affect us and or the other girl. Personally at this age kid's do some pretty stupid things. If the school is suspending her then that may be enough but.... the decision is up to you.
     
  10. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Actually, the age was more of an issue for us than either the sex or sexual orientation (which we don't know, of course). As for her not wanting to press charges, I think it's a combination of not wanting to hurt the other girl and wanting the situation to just go away. It was a big deal at the time, but I think it's faded fast for her.
     
  11. Aiki Lee

    Aiki Lee Master of Arts

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    How upset is your daughter, currently about the situation?

    Teenagers as we all know are very impulsive and do stupid things for stupid reasons, it could very well be that this one girl has friends that she behaves this way with and seriously did mistake your daughter for her friend. If the intent was to humilate I'd say file charges or follow up with the school.

    However, since this girl apologized, it seems she felt somewhat embarassed at the situation.

    I don't think you should call the police unless your daughter feels violated and disturbed by the incident or if this girl has a history of doing this behavior to other kids.
    This girl may be acting this way because of some past learned behavior or abuse, or she may just be oversexualized for her age.

    You kow what is going on better than the rest of us, so go with your instincts on this one and take what all of us say with a grain of salt.
     
  12. Brian R. VanCise

    Brian R. VanCise MT Moderator Staff Member

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    Yes most importantly trust your instincts!
     
  13. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Absolutely agree. I'm just curious what others' responses would be if they were in a similar situation. I'm leaning towards waiting and seeing whether the school's response is adequate, likely with a letter expressing our expectations to the principal and the school board of directors (it's a charter). If the response is inadequate (for example, 1/2 day's suspension leading into spring break, and no consequences afterward), then we'll definitely go the next step.
     
  14. Apatride

    Apatride White Belt

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    It might sound stupid but have you contacted the other girl's parents to talk about this and decide for an appropriate punishment? It is not the police job or the school job to make the other girl stop this stupid behaviour.
    I know that USA are very different from where I live but it is the way things would be dealt with here: Talking to the parents first and seeing if they react well or not.
     
  15. poollshark

    poollshark Orange Belt

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    Tough situation and hard to answer. You said "It was a big deal at the time, but I think it's faded fast for her.". I think I would try to figure out if it faded fast for her because it's just not a big deal or because she's afraid. If it's no big deal to her then I would probably let it go. This is on the students school record now so any future issues like this will show a pattern of behavior.
    Now, if I thought she was letting it go out of fear then I would address it accordingly.
    As someone else stated, kids do stupid things sometimes and it's possible that is just what this was. Ultimately I would trust my instincts.

    George
     
  16. girlbug2

    girlbug2 Master of Arts

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    Now that my boy is 12, I am beginning to discover how difficult it is to decipher the motives of "teens".

    My first thought though, is that your daughter may not want to press charges because of social pressure...being embarassed about the whole incident may be a bigger deal to a kid that age than the incident itself...she may just want it to go away. You then need to decide if that is a basis for dropping it, or to press on despite her embarassment because there is something more at stake. No easy answers here. But I sympathize with you as a parent.
     
  17. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Actually, it is the school's job to make sure that their students are not assaulted (especially sexually assaulted) on campus, and the police's job to deal with those who commit a crime.

    That said, I don't disagree with contacting the parents (which the school has obviously already done). The problem is, the school cannot (apparently by federal law??) give out any details on the punishment of a student to anyone who is not that student's parent, and won't give out details on the family to us for privacy issues.

    I have a first name because my daughter found out, but don't even know the kid's last name. They're at a charter school that serves a very large geographic area, so it's not like we're likely to run into each other outside of the school.

    Aside from that, given the issues this child obviously has, we really don't want to have any further relationship with her whatsoever.

    Yeah, girlbug, you've hit the nail on the head. I don't think it's because of social pressure, but embarrassment is likely playing a role... the trick is figuring out how big a role, and then making exactly the decision you've elucidated so well... whether it's a basis for dropping the issue, or whether it's more important to press on against her wishes.
     
  18. Apatride

    Apatride White Belt

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    Isn t sexual assault a bit strong? I mean, we are not talking about a rape. Ok, she shouldn t have done this, that is a fact and I understand that it can be disturbing for your daughter but a 14 years old grabbing someone's crotch for a second is an incident, not a unforgivable crime.

    And if the school can not give you the family details, I would say it is still their responsibility to organise a meeting.

    This being said, if you don t want to have any contact with the other girl, just forget about it. Tell your daughter that she did the right thing when she reported this to the school staff but I am not sure it would help her in any way to make this a bigger thing than needed.

    In the end, the question is: what is your goal?
    If you want your daughter to not be traumatised, just talk to her, let her know she did the right thing and that it is normal that she was shocked/disturbed and that she should talk to you if she feels like it.

    If you want to prevent this from happening again, you have to put pressure on the school so they make sure that the other girl's parents take care of the issue or that she is removed from the school

    IMHO, the only reason to make this a big deal would be to seek revenge or compensation, I don t see how this would help your daughter in any way
     
  19. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    Inappropriate touching is sexual assault (rape obviously is a much more serious form of sexual assault). It meets the legal definition quite handily. If I were at work and casually reached over and grabbed a co-worker's breasts without consent, I would expect to be both charged and fired. It is very different in both context and in the victim's response than a purely physical assault like pushing or punching.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with revenge or compensation. If it did, I wouldn't be asking what an "appropriate" response level is, and would have made up my mind when it first happened. As this is outside my experience, I have solicited advice from members of this forum (who have no vested stake in the outcome) as well as in people I know well and trust.

    Your opinion on the subject is clear, and is noted. Starting an argument about it is fairly pointless at this stage, since no decision has been made one way or the other.

    I think my daughter is basically over it, though she might have some moments when she next sees this girl in school (they've been on spring break).

    The reasons that charges are still being considered as an option are that I'm not aware of the extent of the school's censure yet, and whether or not I think it appropriate, and more importantly because this does appear to be a pattern of behavior for this girl, and I am somewhat concerned both for her (that she get help, or that someone figures out what is triggering this type of behavior), and for her potential future victims.
     
  20. Indie12

    Indie12 Blue Belt

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    It's a hard decision, a tough call, what was the school's response?

    Sexual Assault is Sexual Assault, and from what you told us that's what it sounds like and criminal proceedings should be taken... At the very least disciplinary action!123
     

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