Today’s Lady News: On The Texas Cheerleader Forced To Cheer For Her Rapist

  • We’ve long been following the story of the Texas cheerleader who was kicked off the squad for refusing to cheer for a student athlete who sexually assaulted her. Hillaire, of Sislbee, Texas, was 16 years old when she was raped in October 2008 by fellow student Rakheem Bolton, then 17, at a party. Bolton and three other boys removed her clothes and locked the door; a friend outside the door heard Hillaire saying “No!” and “Stop!” That friend kicked the door open to find Hillaire on the floor crying; three of the four boys had broken a window and fled. That same night, the owner of the house called 911 to report a rape. Despite all this, Rakheem Bolton initially claimed the sex was consensual, fueling rumors she was embarrassed because he is black and she is white. Rakheem Bolton eventually plead guilty to assault, but continued playing on the Silsbee basketball team. (Never mind that under Texas law, neither a minor nor someone who is intoxicated can legally consent to sex.) Four months later when it came time to cheer for the basketball team, Hillaire refused. Her coach told her she had to cheer “for everyone” or leave. So she left. She was then kicked off the cheerleading squad, which prompted her father to file several lawsuits against the school district, the superintendant and the principal. All lawsuits were unsuccessful and — if all this is not crazy enough — one ruling declared that Hillarie and her family had to reimburse the school district for legal fees. If it’s any consolation, an appeals court ruled this week that Hillaire and her family are not required to pay the entire $35,000 in fees. I don’t know about you, but that hardly seems like something to celebrate. I heartily encourage you to read this Daily Beast piece, because it is fantastic — as well as heartbreaking. [The Daily Beast, Ms. Magazine]

  • A bioethicist has promised to donate $10,000 to a charity of Rep. Michele Bachmann’s choice if the politician can find someone who has become mentally challenged from the HPV vaccine. [Think Progress]
  • Tales from Facebook’s first female engineer, Ruchi Sanghvi. [Huffington Post]
  • Check out these incredible graphs on the state-by-state restrictions against abortion. It really drives home how bad things are in Indiana, Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas and Utah. [Feministing]
  • On whether or not it is possible to make “a really funny rape joke.” [Think Progress]
  • A school in McIntosh County, Georgia, allegedly refused to allow a seven-year-old transgender boy student to use the boys’ bathroom and forced him to use the girls’ bathroom instead. The boy, nicknamed “D,” has been transgender since he was 18 months old. [Atlanta Journal-Constitution]

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