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Boarding School Abuse illustrates a series of illegal and lurid activities commonly perpetrated on students by school faculty members, administrators or employees regarding sexual assault of varying degrees. The attack might be a one-time, non-consensual encounter or it can involve several assaults during an ongoing interaction. For example, an continuing intimate encounter with a student, formed by the predatory actions of a faculty member, school administrator or employee and whether leading to physical consensual sex acts or not, is a form of abuse. Student on student sexual assault is an additional type of abuse, that may be compounded by the school’s failure to offer a safe environment that enabled the assault to occur. Inside the school population are students of different ages, maturity and experiences. Younger students might be subjected to the predatory behavior of older, more mature students. Their behavior, along with peer-pressure exerted on both the predator and the targeted victim, could lead to different types of abuse including sexual assault of varying degrees. In all reported Boarding School Abuse matters, a school administration’s megligence to fully, immediately report the assault to law enforcement and other authorities, or its additional failure to investigate, address and deal completely with the matter increases the effects on the abuse survivor, the school population and potentially others. Recent Boarding School Abuse cases reported in the press highlight these failures, including situations where the perpetrator quietly departs the campus merely to assume working elsewhere in a school environment. Predatory Behavior Most boarding schools pride themselves on their tiny, 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 might be expected in a non-boarding school setting. This may provide both opportunity and cover for the possible abuser and for the predatory behavior. In some situations, the abuser might be a personable and popular individual, generally considered to be a enhancement to the school community. A targeted student might feel flattered that a popular superior in the school community has expressed special attention in him or her. Because of this popularity and involvement into the school community, attack accusations against these attackers are often met with distrust, disbelief, and resistance from the community. Frequesntly, abusers have boundary and judgment issues which turn into unusually friendly relationships with students that are beyond what are commonly expected. This creates a predatory path and opportunity for the attack. All abusers, to differing amounts, employ predatory actions that are generally known as “grooming,” or targeting a possible abuse victim. Below is a list of grooming behaviors exhibited by predators who are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate student. Grooming Grooming is a significant part of a predator’s method. In a boarding school setting, a predator usually works closely with small amounts of students, understanding each student’s needs and weaknesses. Once a victim is located and selected, these vulnerabilities – like being lonely, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, or attention seeking behavior, may be systematically exploited in the following manners: Trust A predator might first work to gain the student’s trust. This step is most difficult to see as private school communities are usually tight-knit and personal interaction is commonplace. Here,

https://meneolawgroup.com 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 creates a trusting engagement with the potential student-victim, the student might start to count on more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the predator is leveraging and fulfilling. The victim might spend more time with the predator, feeling more and more comfortable with the relationship. In addition to attention and kindness, the possible victim may receive gifts from the predator, including valuable, gifts like the promise of higher grades, or a college recommendation letter. The reliance stage is mainly when the predatory behavior is distinguishable from well-meaning collegial behavior. Isolation As the grooming progresses, the predator might try to isolate the potential victim. At school, this could mean late meetings, tutoring sessions, encounters in the dormitory , one-on-one sports training sessions, or various other such circumstances. Sexualization The predator will start to desensitize the student from reacting negatively to contact, caressing and other actions which lead to sexual interaction. This might begin with breaking the physical-touch barrier, or speaking, with suggestive messages to determine the victim’s response to the advancement. This will increase until the relationship advances to one of a physical, sexual nature. Maintenance As the sexual relationship is created, the predator may work to maintain control over the victim and the continuing interaction. The predator will likely try to manipulate the student by introducing emotions of guilt, or possibly threats, or employ the opposite tactic of continuing to make the victim feel special and desired. In any event, the predator might keep trying to exploit the victim with means necessary to maintain the immoral physical relationship. Legacy on Abuse Victims While the grooming escalates as intended by the predator, the victim, being made to feel special, will likely respond positively to the behaviors. The predator, from these well planned and performed grooming behaviors and activities, seeks to re-work and remove the moral confines of the targeted student. Because the victim participated in this re-calibration, she often experiences deep feelings of guilt, initially blaming herself for the incident and likely not to report it. Additionally, beyond the abuse has been revealed, victims of private school abuse are frequently exposed to discreet social pressure and intimidation, such as bullying, alienation from their peers, or revenge from administrators. Particularly at boarding schools, where academics are rigorous, competition can be fierce and social circles small, victims of abuse may be quickly isolated and socially persecuted. Subjected to such reactions, many private school abuse survivors who have revealed the abuse leave school. Others, fighting with the prospect of the isolation and social abuse, report the abuse years later. In either case, the impact can be severe and lasting. Some abuse survivors suffer from long-term effects of the abuse including depression, anxiety, ptsd, low self-esteem, suicidal feelings, substance abuse, disturbed sleeping and eating patterns, and trouble creating and keeping healthy relationships. Individual therapy and support groups might assist victims get past those effects. Legally, a survivor of boarding school abuse could receive financial compensation from the predator and more frequently, from the school for its negligence to protect the student from the predator, as well as failures or negligence in its process of reviewing and replying to the survivor’s report of the abuse. If you are a survivor of boarding school abuse and would like to confidentially share your situation and learn of your legal options at no cost or obligation, we are ready to speak with you. It’s important for a survivor to remember that being a victim is not your fault. The lawyers at Meneo Law Group are committed to bringing those responsible for the abuse to justice.



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by Dr. Radut.