Lacy Crawford’s memoir about the assault she experienced during her time as a student at St. Paul’s School, an elite boarding school in Concord, N.H., is a particularly devastating entry in the #MeToo genre. Crawford, who contracted herpes from one of the fellow students who assaulted her and suffered debilitating pain as it went undiagnosed, tried to report the assault in 1991, the year after it occurred. But she was told that she would be expelled from the school if a criminal investigation were to launch and that she would find it difficult to enroll at any other school of similar stature on the East Coast. Crawford dropped her early attempts at justice, and those associated with the school managed to conceal the truth even as other students were victimized. She has found some vindication. In 2017, St. Paul published a report that substantiated abuse claims going back to the 1940s, and the current head of the school, Kathy Giles, does not dispute Crawford’s account. But the reckoning has come late for a woman who has suffered since her teens. This is not a story of justice served but rather a case study in the ways storied and moneyed institutions protect their reputations by grinding down the will of the survivors who challenge them.
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