(The opinions here are those of Ramona Holloway and do not necessarily represent those of the staff, management or ownership of MIX 107.9)

My name is Ramona Holloway. I’m a childhood sexual abuse survivor who supports the bravery of Nikki Wombwell, a graduate of Myers Park High School. Nikki was known by the courts as “Jill Roe” to protect her identity in a lawsuit filed against Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools. Why’d she sue? Nikki says that after she was raped in woods near Myers Park school officials did nothing. Frankly it appears they are still doing NOTHING.

PLEASE READ HER STORY claimed the administration at the state’s second largest high school has covered up several sexual assaults and rapes on campus.

‘This is bigger than me’: Former CMS student who reported rape pushes for change The school sits on 62 wooded acres on Colony Road in Charlotte. On the CMS website it boasts that, “for five consecutive years, the school has been ranked among the 100 best high schools in the United States by Newsweek Magazine.” Covering up sexual crimes is not a good look for one of the nation’s “best” schools. Nikki and some current students, who planned a protest at the school this week, believe Myers Park needs to do better. The survivor has shed her anonymity in hopes of making a difference. Nikki’s lawsuit against her alma mater and the district claimed police weren’t even contacted but it was far worse than that.  The suit, settled out of court for $50,000, said that the principal tried to convince her not to file a report at all and warned the then 15-year-old that if her rapist wasn’t convicted she might face disciplinary action for having sex on campus.  A lawsuit filed against CMS by another student
victim known as “Jane Doe” is still pending. Nikki adds that since she went public with her story dozens of other current or former students, with what she calls “eerily similar” stories, have reached out to her.

What does CMS have to say about all of this? Cue the crickets! The district encourages “students, staff, parents and community leaders” to work together to eradicate bullying by standing up and speaking out. The CMS website touts that its anti-bullying campaign is aimed at maintaining “learning environments free from negative behaviors that can disrupt education.” Sexually assaulting your classmates is pretty disruptive negative behavior. Yet we’ve heard nothing about what the school plans to do to keep children safe and support victims going forward. Do we understand what happens when rapists are allowed to roam a school and its grounds without being punished? Can you guess what those attackers are free to do yet again to someone’s child? By the way, the student who Myers Park failed to protect Nikki from, was never disciplined.
The silence from CMS is disturbing and sends a horrible message to the entire community. It is tricky to comment on pending legislation, but surely Superintendent Dr. Clayton Wilcox and the board want to at least appear to support these survivors. Thankfully Nikki has some ideas about how to enforce Rule 27 in the student code of conduct handbook.
The district already offers annual sexual harassment training, but she sees a lot of room for improvement. She wants students to be educated about the issue and she wants the CMS grown-ups who have failed her and other students to be held accountable for coverups.
I want that too, Nikki. I also want the students who’ve been affected to get help. There are community resources for survivors including Pat’s Place Child Advocacy Center for kids who’ve been victimized: adults there is Brave Step: Brave Step is a nonprofit that empowers people who’ve been impacted by sexual violence.
If CMS wants to empower students then the message needs to be clear. The same type of counseling offered to students after the death of a classmate or teacher should be made available. The inaction is inhumane. Crimes against children shouldn’t be ignored because they were committed by other children… even if they are committed at a school that appears to be protecting its ‘Newsweek’ magazine reputation.

So, on behalf of other survivors I say, THANK YOU, NIKKI. We applaud your courage. And we’re proud of the current Myers Park students who are boldly standing with you to demand change!

#metoo #sayhername #sexualabuse #survivors