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Boarding School Abuse presents a wide-range of illegal and improper acts commonly perpetrated on students by school faculty members, administrators or staff regarding sexual assault of varying degrees. The assault may be a one-time, non-consensual abuse or it can involve many assaults within an ongoing interaction. For example, an continuing intimate encounter with a student, formed by the predatory behavior of a faculty member, school administrator or staff and whether leading to physical agreed sex acts or not, is a form of abuse. Student-on-student sexual assault is an additional type of abuse, that can be made worse by the school’s negligence to offer a safe environment that enabled the assault to happen. Inside the school community are students of different ages, maturity and experiences. Younger students might be subjected to the predatory behavior of older, more mature students. Their actions, along with peer-pressure applied to both the attacker and the targeted victim, could lead to different forms of abuse that includes sexual assault of varying degrees. In all alleged Boarding School Assault matters, a school administration’s megligence to completely, immediately report the crime to law enforcement and other authorities, or its further negligence to investigate, address and deal completely with the situation amplifies the effects on the victim, the school community and potentially others. Recent Boarding School Abuse cases reported in the press exemplify these failures, including times when the attacker quietly departs the school merely to assume working elsewhere in a school environment. Predatory Behavior Most private schools pride themselves on their small, personal communities inside a well-defined and safe campus. In that environment, faculty, administrators and staff are frequently much closer and familiar with students than would be expected in a non-boarding school situation. This may create both opportunity and cover for the would-be attacker and for the predatory behavior. In some matters, the abuser may be a personable and popular person, generally considered to be a positive addition to the school community. A targeted victim may feel flattered that a popular superior in the school community is expressing special attention in him or her. Because of this popularity and integration into the school community, abuse allegations against these abusers are often met with doubt, disbelief, and resistance from the community. Frequesntly, abusers have distance and judgment problems which turn into oddly friendly relationships with students that are beyond what are normally anticipated. This creates a predatory path and opportunity for the abuse. All abusers, to differing degrees, use predatory actions that are generally known as “grooming,” or targeting a possible abuse victim. Following is a list of grooming methods used by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate student. Grooming Grooming is a main part of a predator’s method. In a boarding school setting, a predator usually works closely with small amounts of students, realizing every student’s needs and weaknesses. Once a victim is located and selected, these vulnerabilities – such as being lonely, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, or attention seeking behavior, may be systematically exploited in the following ways: Trust A predator will first work to gain the student’s trust. This step is the most difficult to see as boarding school communities are usually tight-knit and personal interaction is commonplace. Here, the attacker is usually part of a group of staff who are genuinely interested in the student’s wellbeing and success at the school. Reliance As a predator establishes a trusting engagement with the potential student-victim, the student might start to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the predator is leveraging and fulfilling. The victim may spend more time with the predator, feeling more comfortable with the relationship. Additionally to attention and kindness, the possible victim might receive gifts from the predator, which may include valuable, gifts like the promise of higher marks, or a college recommendation letter. The reliance step is mainly where the predatory behavior is noticeable from well-meaning collegial behavior. Isolation As the grooming continues, the predator might work to isolate the potential victim. At school, this could mean after-hour meetings, tutoring sessions, meetings in the dormitory , one-on-one athletic practice sessions, or various other such circumstances. Sexualization The predator will begin to de-sensitize the possible victim from reacting negatively to touching, caressing and other behaviors which lead to sexual interaction. This could begin with breaching the physical-touch barrier, or communicating, with suggestive language to gauge the victim’s response to the progression. This will increase until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature. Maintenance Once the sexual relationship is created, the predator may work to maintain control of the victim and the continuing interaction. The predator will probably seek to manipulate the student by inducing feelings of guilt, or even threats, or use the opposite strategy of continuing to have the victim feel special and desired. In any event, the predator will continue to exploit the victim by whatever means necessary to keep the immoral physical relationship. Legacy on Abuse Victims While the grooming increases as intended by the predator, the victim, being made to feel special, will likely respond affirmatively to the actions. The predator, from these well planned and performed grooming behaviors and activities, tries to re-calibrate and remove the moral confines of the victim. Because the victim participated in this re-calibration, she often experiences deep feelings of shame, initially blaming himself for the incident and likely not to report it. Additionally, after the abuse has been reported, survivors of boarding school abuse are frequently exposed to discreet social pressure and intimidation, such as bullying, alienation from their peers, or revenge from administrators. Especially at private schools, where education is stringent, competition can be fierce and social circles small, survivors of abuse can be quickly isolated and socially persecuted. Exposed to those reactions, many private school abuse victims who have reported the abuse leave school. Others, fighting with the prospect of the isolation and social persecution, report the abuse years later. In either case, the impact can be severe and lasting. Some abuse victims deal with from long-term effects of the abuse that include depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, low self-esteem, suicidal feelings, substance abuse, disturbed sleeping and eating patterns, and difficulty creating and keeping healthy relationships. Individualized therapy and support groups can help survivors get past those effects. Legally, a survivor of boarding school abuse can receive financial compensation from the predator and more frequently, from the school for its failure to protect the student from the abuse, as well as failures or deficiencies in its method of reviewing and replying to the survivor’s report of the abuse. If you are a survivor of boarding

https://www.meneolawgroup.com/personal-injury/boarding-school-abuse and would like to confidentially review your situation and learn of your legal options at no cost or obligation, we are prepared to speak with you. It’s important for a survivor to realize that experiencing assault is not your fault. The attorneys at Meneo Law Group are committed to bringing those responsible for the assault to justice.

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by Dr. Radut.