Singer’s grope lawsuit gives light to sexual assault

Elise Keller
News/Opinion Editor

Taylor Swift presents Entertainer of the Year to Garth Brooks at the 50th Annual CMA Awards that took place at the Bridgestone Arena on Nov. 2, 2016 in downtown Nashville, Tenn. Closing arguments in Swift’s civil trial against former radio host David Mueller were held on Aug. 14, 2017. Photo by Jason Walle/Zuma Press/TNS

Pop singer Taylor Swift recently won a lawsuit involving radio personality David Mueller and a photo-op grope.

Swift won a symbolic $1 as a result of the case and gave the message she wanted to help other sexual assault victims.

The lawsuit started in 2013, when Swift and Mueller met at a meet-and-greet and Mueller allegedly groped her backside beneath her skirt. Mueller was then fired from his radio show host job at Denver’s KYGO-FM because of the incident. He sued Swift for $3 million, saying it was her fault he lost his job. Then, in 2015, Swift countersued for a mere $1 for sexual assault and battery.

Swift’s stance on the lawsuit was to give hope to other victims and spread awareness.

“I will be making donations in the near future to multiple organizations that help sexual assault victims defend themselves,” Swift said.

Victims of sexual harassment or assault at Webster Groves High School have resources available in the school.

Students going through similar situations of sexual harassment and assault are encouraged to talk with someone in the counseling department.

“They usually don’t want to report it because they don’t want their parents to know that they got drunk or something like that, but then this thing is just bothering them so much that it’s overpowering everything. They’re just traumatized,” Ken Winingham, counselor, said.

“Eventually, they are the ones who tell their parents, but at first they think they don’t want anybody to know. I can tell you, though, that if you just let something like that sit, you don’t just recover from it overnight. It will just eat a person up. A lot of times they want to tell somebody; they’re just scared of their parents. You know,’oh, I wasn’t supposed to have the car,’ or ‘I told my parents that I was going to hang out with ‘so-and-so’ and instead I hung out with ‘so-and-so.” They don’t want to get caught in a lie or caught drinking– something that you could get grounded for a week–but yet this is a trauma that can affect them for the rest of their lives,” Winningham said.

There are other resources available when a student needs more than someone to talk to.

“So let’s say a kid came in and said she or he was being harassed by another student. We would need to go to an administrator; we would contact parents,” Winingham said. “We actually have a group called Safe Connections.” Safe connections is an organization that works to promote healthy relationships and end sexual violence. It offers counseling, education and a crisis helpline, all free of charge.

“We would make sure that both the kid is okay and also that all harassment, especially that’s here, stops, so that’s why the administrators would be involved.” Winingham said.

“Sexual assault is different. [With] sexual assault, we might have to wind up taking a student to the hospital. Police might be involved. We have a hotline number, there’s child services, and behavioral health response. They help teenagers who are going through a crisis, but if sexual assault has been done, we’re gonna have to go one step further. Especially if it’s rape or something like that, there has to be medical and legal authorities involved,” Winingham said.

The procedures with sexual assault are more serious and have to be handled by higher authorities because there can be legal issues.

“Not a whole lot of [resources] are [in the school] once you get to sexual assault, you’re kind of going beyond what they can do here as a school counselor. We’re going to be referring you out into the community for outside resources,” Winingham said. Students who come to a counselor with reports of sexual assault will be encouraged to talk to police.

“Officer [Drew] Baker is actually very good at [talking with students], but if, let’s say, it’s a girl, and she didn’t feel comfortable with Officer Baker, we can actually call a female police officer in, social worker, that kind of thing,”  Winingham said.

Social worker Anne Gibbs works in her office 210. She can direct the family and victim of sexual assault to counseling and medical attention.

Safe Connections crisis helpline: 314-531-2003

See Also: ECHO’s Voices of Webster Sept. 19, 2017

 

 


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