When Did Sexual Assault In Schools Become A Partisan Issue?

When Did Sexual Assault In Schools Become A Partisan Issue?

If we can't agree that young girls being raped at school is an outrage, what can we agree on?
Elle Reynolds
By

In 2014, Rolling Stone published a story about a female student named “Jackie” who claimed she was raped at a fraternity party at the University of Virginia.

“The 9,000-word story prompted a wave of outrage and revulsion,” said the Washington Post. The fraternity in question was graffitied within hours, protesters descended upon the campus in Charlottesville, Va., the university president suspended Greek life until the following year, and elected officials condemned the incident.

“University of Virginia Contends With Outrage Over Horrific Rape Reports,” Time Magazine headlined. CNN reported on the story and the university’s swift reaction to it, as did ABC News. The Huffington Post also picked up the story.

The story, we now know, later unraveled, leading to a retraction from Rolling Stone and massive defamation lawsuits. But not before the appalling tale of a helpless young woman being brutally assaulted on an educational campus shook Americans’ sensibilities. No one was disagreeing that, if true, the incident deserved horror, outrage, and efforts to try and keep such abuses from happening again.

The Story We Should All Be Up In Arms About

Just seven years later, a similarly harrowing tale has emerged just 100 or so miles away from U-Va., in Loudoun County, Va. An investigation from The Daily Wire earlier this month reported allegations from Loudoun County father Scott Smith that in May, “a boy allegedly wearing a skirt entered a girls’ bathroom at nearby Stone Bridge High School, where he sexually assaulted Smith’s ninth-grade daughter.”

“A boy was charged with two counts of forcible sodomy, one count of anal sodomy, and one count of forcible fellatio, related to an incident that day at that school,” according to Smith’s attorney.

But instead of receiving national outrage across the political and media landscape, the alleged incident was reportedly covered up by the Loudoun County School Board for months. In a June meeting, board members insisted they didn’t know of any such assaults. After showing up to a school board meeting in protest, Smith was arrested and smeared as a “domestic terrorist.”

Days after the Daily Wire investigation broke, another report alleged the school district had been failing to report sexual assault claims for years. Meanwhile, LCPS appears to have quietly transferred the alleged rapist to another school, where he has since been accused of another sexual assault of a female student.

Where Is The Outrage?

Where is the outrage? A search for “Scott Smith Loudoun” returns zero results on the Washington Post’s website, despite Loudoun County’s close proximity to the Post’s home city. On Tuesday, the Post finally published something on the story, but failed to mention Smith by name and initially failed to admit that the alleged attacker identified as “gender fluid.”

A search for “Scott Smith Loudoun” or “Loudoun sexual assault” returned no results from The New York Times on Wednesday. The extent to which CNN covered the story was to say “[Republican gubernatorial candidate Glenn] Youngkin on Tuesday promised action following parental outrage over two recent alleged assaults in public schools in the state’s Loudoun County,” immediately after a paragraph of damage control for Democrat candidate Terry McAuliffe’s statement that “I don’t think parents should be telling schools what they should teach.”

Can you imagine if, instead of discovering holes in the U-Va. story, additional coverage had revealed that the school had been covering up other sexual assault allegations for years?

Or, if the allegations in the Rolling Stone story had been true, can you imagine if U-Va. had quietly moved the rapists to another fraternity and tried to cover the whole thing up? Or tried to smear Jackie and her family as “domestic terrorists”?

The Loudoun County incident has all the ingredients of a horrifying scandal worthy of the front pages of every newspaper in the country. It should provoke our outrage, not as conservatives, but as caring and compassionate human souls whose sympathies are pricked by the horrors allegedly endured by an innocent 15-year-old girl.

If We Can’t Agree Rape Is Bad, What Can We Agree On?

Ensuring the safety of young girls — in their places of learning and elsewhere — should not be controversial. But the loudest voices on the left, the same ones who screamed “Me Too” from the rooftops of their Hollywood mansions, are too allegiant to the fringe demands of transgenderism to speak up. Many voices in the middle, even, seem too cowardly to come to the defense of young women like Smith’s daughter.

In a widening partisan divide, if we can’t agree that young girls being raped at school is an outrage, what can we agree on? Does the left hate conservatives with such vitriol that, once voices on the right speak up for a young girl’s right to bodily safety, that issue is suddenly anathema, tainted by the fingerprints of concerned parents slandered as domestic terrorists?

Plenty of other common-sense perspectives that any Democrat nominee would have supported up to a couple of years ago have suddenly become “radical” conservative positions too: funding police departments, not segregating kids in school based on race, having international borders, or allowing people to make their own medical decisions without government coercion. Any of these should have been enough to make Americans stop and wonder why the rules of the game are changing so drastically — and who is changing them.

But even for those who had yet to notice, the harrowing tale from Loudoun County Public Schools — and the subsequent shrug that legacy media, Democrats, and the Me Too crowd gave it — should settle that the biggest war in America right now isn’t between Republicans and Democrats, nor between blustering, blundering congressmen battling over whether to sell your children’s future for $3.5 trillion or $1 trillion.

The biggest war in America is between the allegiances we’ve always taken for granted — those of the family, church, and local community — and a conglomerate of forces that will stop at nothing to break them down. Sacrificing a 15-year-old girl’s right to basic safety at her school on the altar of fringe identity politics is just part of that fight.

Elle Reynolds is an assistant editor at The Federalist, and received her B.A. in government from Patrick Henry College with a minor in journalism. You can follow her work on Twitter at @_etreynolds.

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