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  • Ricksel Penullar

The Bystander Effect

A girl in Niagara, New York, who is attending Niagara Wheatfield Highschool, reminisces about a horrible memory in her High School experience. She remembers his painstaking glares from the doorway during her theater class and Track practice. For nine consecutive months, the girl tried to escape Elias Dowdy, a fellow Senior at her Wheatfield Highschool. Elias dowdy a 19-year-old former High School student who goes to Wheatfield Highschool who is pleaded guilty to 3rd-degree rape. In May 2018, Ellias Dowdy raped a local girl in his home, and that girl is named Taylor. Taylor remembers Mr. Dowdy inviting her. They went to his bedroom, where Mr. Dowdy locked the door and raised the volume on the television.

According to Taylors' Police statement, "He pulled me onto the bed next to him. He started wrestling with me, and then he pulled off my pants and my underwear." Mr. Dowdys narrated the story in his perspective, saying, "I don't remember her saying no or pushing me off." The judge issued an order of protection for six months that he had to stay away from Taylor. However, it only specified home and business, not school. Taylors Mom Ms. Camp met with Mr. Mann the Principle and gave him a copy of an order of protection and shared the text message between Taylor and Dowdy in which Dowdy apologized for the raped. However, Mr.Mann told Ms. Camp that Dowdy had the right to an education and that he was permitted to attend school right alongside Taylor and the other students. Early in the fall semester, Taylor would begin receiving harassing messages on snapchat from classmates who speculated whether the rape happened. "Ur mom found out u got embarrassed n then lied about it." one message said. Taylor took the messages to the principal and the assistant principal and assured her a follow-up, but to no avail, the messages kept flooding her phone. Ms. Camp criticizes the District's poor management of the case of Taylor's rape. The District let Dowdy still attend the school, knowing that he has raped her daughter and kept him active on playing on the lacrosse team. Ms. Camp explains, "I understand he has the right to education, but why couldn't they give that a different way." The school had shrugged off the responsibility and claimed that it did not happen on school grounds. Dowdy's peer said that the school was promoting rape culture and victim-blaming. In August, as part of the criminal proceeding, Judge Sara Sheldon of Niagara County gave Mr. Dowdy a year of Interim probation in which after she will decide whether he is a youthful offender or an adult offender. Mr. Dowdy could face jail time of 10 years of probation, a four year in state jail time, or a combination of both. For Taylor, she has put her dreams on hold and plans to stay at home to recover as long as necessary.

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