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Churchland High sexual assault: Was it rape if they were in a relationship? | News

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Churchland High sexual assault: Was it rape if they were in a relationship?
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An alleged rape of a 15-year-old girl during school hours, on school grounds was reported at Churchland High School and this was the response from a Portsmouth City School Board member:

“We really don’t know what happened, because now it’s coming out the two had dated for two years,” said board member Edward McCabe.

NewsChannel 3 repeatedly heard the same comment from different school officials, who were only willing to call the rape “an isolated incident” because it was the girl’s ex-boyfriend who supposedly committed the crime.

“You don’t have to find a reason; the point is that it happened,” said Beth Cross, executive director of the HER Shelter in Portsmouth.

As the only women’s shelter in Portsmouth and Chesapeake, Cross sees battered and sexually abused women every day, and even she was shocked to hear the response from Portsmouth City Schools.

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Cross says a rape is a rape, violence is violence, no matter what the relationship.

“You have just told them, if you are a boy, you should be able to do this to your girlfriend, and if you are a girl, you need to take it.”

Looking at the statistics, teen dating violence continues to dramatically increase.

Cross says physical and sexual abuse between high school couples jumped more than 40% in the past ten years.

“With teen dating violence, it’s mimicking the same problems we see in domestic violence in adults.”

It’s also a well-known fact that over 80% of rapes are committed by someone the victim knows or has a relationship with, so Cross just can’t understand the school system’s response to this boyfriend-on-girlfriend reported rape.

“The fact that they are trying to build a case that says it’s okay, that’s very scary. It certainly tells us where the community leadership is,” said Cross. “He is now scarred with being charged with rape for life, and she is now scarred for life because she spoke up and was made to look like a fool.”

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