• Alleged rape victim facing bullying on social media


    WINTER SPRINGS, Fla. - The 16-year-old who was allegedly raped by six teenagers next to Winter Springs High School is being tormented again, but this time the abuse is not at the hands of the six suspects.

    It’s from her fellow classmates on social media.

    Channel 9 reporter Tim Barber found out it’s becoming a frequent problem for rape victims to become the targets for bullies online.

    “The community as a whole is very prone to victim blaming despite the fact that less than 2 percent of rape allegations are in fact false,” said Sarah Webb, of the Victim Service Center of Central Florida.

    Webb said social media has been playing a more significant role in a victim’s road to recovery, and sometimes the bullying can prevent them from testifying.

    In the Winter Springs case, classmates have said the victim wants to have sex with the six teenagers.

    They started a hashtag called #Freeourboys.

    Investigators said there is plenty of evidence to keep the boys locked up.

    Webb said it’s best to hold off on jumping to conclusions until it’s presented.

    “If the message is negative and centered around a negative event, it can definitely have a negative impact on the way they view themselves, their world and how people view them,” she said.

    Last year, the Victim Service Center helped nearly 70 victims under the age of 18 who said they were sexually assaulted.

    Related Story: Winter Springs HS football players accused of raping classmate to stay behind bars

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