Groups warn of victim shaming after arrest of school staffer - Fox 28: South Bend, Elkhart IN News, Weather, Sports

Groups warn of victim shaming after arrest of high school hall monitor


We're still waiting for word on whether official charges will be filed against a Mishawaka High School Hall Monitor.  Ryan Mouch was arrested Wednesday on a list of preliminary charges, including sexual misconduct with a minor.

In the past 24 hours there have been several posts on Twitter about this situation.  There's a hashtag now called #FreeMouch and people are talking about the minor involved in a negative way.

Experts call it "victim shaming" and they say it's harmful.  "I think it's really disturbing to see this kind of thing happening," said Linda Baechle, the CEO of YWCA North Central Indiana.   

Baechle said these kinds of tweets can have tragic consequences.  "There have been a number of cases in the past year of teenage girls that have committed suicide because of these types of cyber bullies."

Baechle said the people posting these items often don't realize the impact the tweets can have.  "Maybe they think it's funny and they can wisecrack about have these kinds of comments and become public info it's really detrimental to the victim."

Baechle said "victim shaming" has become much worse in the social media age.  "Now people are instantaneously responding with a little bit of information and they're jumping to conclusions and making judgments so it's made it much worse for the victims."

So she urges people to just keep their mouths shut and keep their fingers off the keyboard.  "People who are not involved as part of the incident really don't know what happened.  Individuals shouldn't leap to judgement and blame the victim."

Baechle has some tips for parents too.  She said you should pay attention to what your kids are posting and help them understand that there are consequences.

We did call the School City of Mishawaka Superintendent's Office about this Thursday.  We were told the Superintendent has "no comment."


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