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Today in things that make us scream incoherently

Comics Illustrator Raises Money For Texas Cheerleader Who Refused to Cheer Her Rapist


Sometimes the institutions that are supposed to hold us up and teach us how to live our lives as decent human beings just fail us completely, doing something so revolting it challenges your very faith in humanity. Such is the case with the administrators at Texas’ Silsbee High School, who decided to throw one of their cheerleaders off the team when she refused to cheer directly for the boy who raped her. When the case was taken to the appeals court, it was dismissed, and her family is now required to pay $45,000 to cover the school’s legal fees. Hearing of the case, illustrator Jason Ho is drawing custom sketches for $20 each and donating all proceeds to the girl’s legal case. Click through for the full story, as well as more info on how you can help.

At the age of 16, Hillaire S. was sexually assaulted by Rakheem Bolton, a basketball player and football star from the school. When she decided to report the assault, the school responded by informing the girl that it was her responsibility to “lay low,” stay away from the cafeteria, and not go to Homecoming. Bolton plead to the charge of misdemeanor assault, and was allowed  back on the basketball team.

When Hillaire, a cheerleader for the school, refused to cheer directly for her attacker on game nights–while still cheering for the other players and the team as a whole, it should be noted–they very publicly kicked her off the cheerleading squad. It should also be noted that the cheer in question went like this (emphasis ours) :

Two, four, six, eight, ten, come on Rakheem, put it in.”

After being removed from the squad, as well as being publically branded a “slut” by an unsupportive community, she challenged the school in court. And she lost, with the appeals court citing that, as a cheerleader, she was a “mouthpiece through which the school could disseminate speech–namely, support for its athletic teams,” and asserting that her refusal to cheer for Bolton “constituted substantial interference with the work of the school.”

In the aftermath of all of this, this one brave teenage girl in Texas is left not only to face the hostility of her classmates and her town, but of the very administrators who are supposed to be responsible for guiding kids into adulthood with at least a basic sense of how to interact with society. On the practical side, her family is still buried in $45,000 worth of the school’s legal fees, which the court is requiring that she pay.

Jason Ho, Assistant Editor at Bongo Comics, is trying to help. He is drawing some very cool full-color sketches of any character of your choice for $20 each, and we encourage you all to get one, as all proceeds go to helping pay the legal fees.

For more information on how to commission a sketch, go here. Simple donations are accepted here. For the best run down on the whole story, go no further than Ms. Magazine.

(via Comics Alliance)

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  • http://twitter.com/CandyAppleCat Heather Skweres

    The story of this cheerleader makes me sick. That this school would put their athletics over the well-being of a student and then force her to cheer specifically for him? Not only cheer for him, but to have to say THAT kind of cheer? It just makes my blood boil. But it’s great that someone out there is willing to do what they can to help her. I commend Jason Ho for standing up to do what he can to help in such a case. I hope I can commission some work from him when commissions resume. Apparently, he’s had pretty high demand and has had to cease commissions for the time being.

  • http://www.extremelydissatisfied.wordpress.com Adam R. Charpentier

    Why isn’t this national news? We get to hear about Lady Gaga’s album failing the moment it dropped and whether Blake Lively really took nude pics (Oh my god, a naked person on the Internet? NO WAY) but this article is published on comic sites and that’s it?

    I have to say, I can’t imagine how she’s able to continue to go to the same school as her attacker. I know that, since I’m male (and a comic book guy, at that), I’m predisposed to fantasies of retribution in situations like this…

    It’s just awful.

  • Anonymous

    but this article is published on comic sites and that’s it?
    I like the cut of your jib sir, but to correct you on this, the story of this poor teen and her school’s abysmal behavior has been known for some months on feminist blogs and sites aplenty.

     Glad this wonderful artists is doing something so good-hearted to help, and that this has the opportunity of being more widely known now.  One can hope.

  • http://www.extremelydissatisfied.wordpress.com Adam R. Charpentier

    I should add, by way of disclaimer, that I adore themarysue.com, comicsalliance.com, and a few of the other sites this article has recently appeared on. I have felt extremely tolerated here and the community is full of interesting people. It’s just fu-can we swear, by the way? It’s ridiculous that I haven’t heard about this story until now. I may not have seen it on the websites you mentioned (I didn’t know that, you’re right: what websites? I will most likely subscribe to them), but I shouldn’t have to travel so specific a ring of websites to hear about it. 

  • Anonymous

    but I shouldn’t have to travel so specific a ring of websites to hear about it.

    Yes well, sexual violence is so common it doesn’t get much attention unless it’s high profile, and then the coverage consists of slut-shaming/blaming the victim and justifying the crime.

    Shakesville:  http://shakespearessister.blogspot.com/
    Echidne of the Snakes:  http://www.echidneofthesnakes.blogspot.com/
    Tigerbeatdown:  http://tigerbeatdown.com/
    Shark-fu:  http://angryblackbitch.blogspot.com/
    Womanist Musings: http://www.womanist-musings.com/

    I don’t remember which of these outside of Shakesville explicitly covered this story, but they all are good resources for these sorts of issues.  Plenty of others too.  You follow a few of those and  you’ll eventually find quite a few other sites of a similar vein; you’ll be able to pick out which of these jive for you the most.

  • http://www.extremelydissatisfied.wordpress.com Adam R. Charpentier

    Thanks much!

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Kristin-Frederickson/852880113 Kristin Frederickson

    I’m glad someone’s finally doing something to help this girl. The way her situation was handled was vile and disgusting.

  • http://twitter.com/Shalliw Shannon Halliwell

    This just breaks my heart. Why should she, the victim have to change her life. Her attacker changes nothing, doesn’t feel the responsibility of his actions. Rape is not about sex or attraction or what you wear or how you walk or talk. It is about power and violence. I keep coming across stories like this where there is no justice for the victim. 
    I just wish this wasn’t happening, it is so unbelievably unfair and cruel. But I guess it’s another reason to have a SlutWalk. And if you don’t know what that is, you should look it up. :)

  • http://www.facebook.com/GoddessMel1974 Melanie Lindner

    And people wonder why so many young (and not so young) women don’t report that they’ve been assaulted.  I really thought we’d come further than the days when I was told (20-some years ago), by a policewoman who probably thought she was being helpful/telling it like it is, that if I decided to go to court against my step-father it would essentially be a matter of his word against mine.  When you’re 15 and feel you don’t have support even from your family (which wasn’t the case it just felt like it at the time), that’s not helpful advice. 

    I really hope this girl can get some satisfaction/commonsense out of the school and the courts over this and move on with her life with pride. 

    I wonder if the boy in question weren’t a star athlete if the outcome would have been the same. 

  • Anonymous

    I like you.

  • Anonymous

    FUCK.

    See – it is allowed.

  • Ceili

    God, every time I hear something about this story it makes me sick all over again. I wish I could do anything to help this poor girl.I would buy up dozens of these if I could (Or, y’know, donate directly somehow), but I just don’t have the disposable income to afford even one sketch right now. Hopefully many, many people will take advantage of this.

  • Eric Bazilio

    It’s stuff like this that makes me love the Internet. I will contribute to this as soon as I can.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OPKHGJD63COCX4MCB7GDNO7AHI boboslove

    I would be ashamed to live in a community where they tolerate rape and then promote the f…….a O that did it.  RUKM.  Karma has a way of catching up with idiots like him.  Justice WILL be served.

  • http://captain.chaos.myopenid.com/ Pepijn

    Jesus Christ, what kind of sick, twisted parody of a legal system is this? The girl is raped, and then gets punished for it by the COURT? How can these people (was there a jury?) live with themselves? God this makes me sick and angry…

    Can’t the ACLU or somebody like that help her appeal this bullshit?

  • Kelly Huckman

    Just because you haven’t seen it, doesn’t mean that the MSM hasn’t been covering this.

    ABC: http://abcnews.go.com/US/rape-high-school-cheerleader-vows-fight-school-district/story?id=11972052

    Washington Post: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/answer-sheet/guest-bloggers/court-cheerleader-had-no-1st-a.html

    Sports Illustrated: http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/vault/article/magazine/MAG1185403/index.htm

    I do agree with you, though. It’s ridiculous that you haven’t heard about this story until now.

  • http://www.extremelydissatisfied.wordpress.com Adam R. Charpentier

    Are you a registered wet blanket or is it a strictly voluntary gig?

  • Anonymous

    tinyurl.com/2a7usxg