Boarding School Abuse illustrates a range of criminal and improper actions often perpetrated against students by school faculty members, administrators or employees involving sexual assault of varying degrees. The assault might be a one-time, non-consensual attack or it may involve several assaults within an continuing interaction. For example, an ongoing intimate relationship with a student, formed by the predatory actions of a faculty member, school administrator or staff and whether leading to physical consensual sex acts or not, is a form of abuse.
Student-on-student sexual assault is another type of abuse, which may be compounded by the school’s failure to provide a safe environment that enabled the assault to occur. Within the school community are students of different ages, maturity and experiences. Immature students may be exposed to the predatory behavior of older, more mature students. Their intent, coupled with peer-pressure applied to both the predator and the targeted victim, might lead to varying types of abuse that includes sexual assault of varying degrees.
In all reported Boarding School Assault matters, a school administration’s failure to entirely, adequately report the crime to law enforcement and other authorities, or its additional negligence to research, address and deal fully with the matter increases the effects on the victim, the school population and potentially others. Recent Boarding School Abuse cases reported in the media highlight these failures, including situations when the attacker quietly departs the campus only to assume working somewhere else in a school environment.
Many boarding schools pride themselves on their tiny, personal communities within a well-defined and secure campus. In that environment, faculty, administrators and staff are frequently much nearer and familiar with students than would be expected in a non-boarding school situation. This could provide both opportunity and cover for the possible abuser and for the predatory behavior.
In some situations, the attacker might be a likeable and popular individual, generally considered to be a enhancement to the school community. A targeted student may feel flattered that a popular superior in the school community has expressed special interest in him or her. Because of this popularity and integration into the school community, attack allegations against these predators are often met with distrust, disbelief, and resistance from the community. Frequesntly, abusers have boundary and morality issues which manifest themselves in unusually friendly relationships with students that are past what are normally expected. This creates a predatory pathway and opportunity for the abuse.
Most abusers, to varying degrees, employ predatory methods that are generally referred to as “grooming,” or targeting a possible abuse victim. Below is a compilation of grooming methods exhibited by predators that are in a position of authority in relation to the subordinate student.
Grooming is a significant part of a predator’s method. In a boarding school situation, a predator often works closely with small amounts of students, understanding each student’s needs and vulnerabilities. Once a victim is located and selected, these vulnerabilities – such as loneliness, low self-esteem, emotional neediness, or attention seeking behavior, may be systematically exploited in the following ways:
A predator may first work to gain the student’s trust. This step is the most difficult to realize as private school communities are often tight-knit and personal interaction is commonplace. Here, the predator is likely part of a group of staff who are genuinely interested in the student’s wellbeing and success at the school.
As a predator establishes a trusting relationship with the potential student-victim, the student may begin to rely more and more on the predator for whatever need it is that the predator is exploiting and fulfilling. The student might spend more time with the predator, feeling increasingly comfortable with the relationship. In addition to attention and affection, the possible victim might receive gifts from the predator, including valuable, gifts such as the promise of high grades, or a college recommendation letter. The reliance stage is mainly where the predatory behavior is noticeable from well-meaning colleg