Counselors discuss trauma victims deal with - WSMV News 4

Counselors discuss trauma victims deal with

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There was no football game Friday night for Grundy County High School players following allegations of assault this week.

Five teens are charged with trying to rape one of their teammates.

It's a disturbing story that began unfolding Thursday. The 15-year-old victim is trying to recover from his injuries, as well as the emotional and mental trauma.

It went well beyond what many would consider hazing.

"We specifically asked this question to every one of them, 'Did you have to go through the same thing?' And every one of them said, 'No,'" said Grundy County Sheriff Clint Shrum.

Five Grundy County High School football players are charged with attempted aggravated rape after allegedly holding down a freshman player and trying to rape him with a dust mop handle Wednesday.

STARS Nashville CEO Rodger Dinwiddie works with state schools on bullying, harassment and hazing among students. News 4's Briona Arradondo asked Dinwiddie if he ever dealt with something like this case in Grundy County.

"No, never nothing like this. They've been in prevention, intervention at the school level up there," Dinwiddie said. "Their director of schools is a friend and colleague, and they've trained their schools in bullying prevention and harassment training."

Dinwiddie recalled the Ooltewah High School rape scandal of 2015. Last year, a judge found three former basketball players guilty of raping another teammate with a pool cue. Dinwiddie finds it disturbing to hear of a similar crime.

"I think that's the perplexing issue for most of us is why did they do that? What was their thinking? What were those gentleman thinking when they did this?" Dinwiddie said.

Alicia Bunch-Vargas at the Sexual Assault Center said the details described around the Grundy County assault contribute to rape culture.

"A lot of times in these instances, someone won't say something because they are afraid," Bunch-Vargas said. "They're afraid of ramifications of what might happen, and those are the dynamics that come about in sexual assault."

Counselors said coaches need to talk about how this impacts their teams, and the victim will need the community to rally around him.

"The school’s response will be important for what they do to support this young person as they re-enter the environment whenever that might be," Dinwiddie said.

Counselors said this case is an opportunity for adults to talk to children about respect and the safety of others and themselves.

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