Last time I checked, rape is a crime. And crimes are reported to and handled by the police and later the court and penal systems. So I’m not really sure why some colleges still think it’s acceptable to handle rape charges internally rather than reporting them to the appropriate authorities. It sort of makes me think they don’t take sexual assault seriously. Which is infuriating. And completely unacceptable.
Colleges have on obligation to provide safe campuses to their students. Part of that obligation involves ensuring that students who violate the law are punished–according to the law. And for the record: the “Student Code of Conduct” is not the law. And a lecture on appropriate student behavior is not an appropriate disciplinary action for a rapist. When colleges downplay sexual assault–for whatever reason– by treating it as anything less than a violent crime, it sends a message to rape victims–including future victims: What happened to you is not serious, and we will not take it seriously. No wonder sexual assaults are under-reported on college campuses. It takes a lot for a victim to come forward in the first place–many women worry about not being believed. What these colleges are doing is contributing to and perpetuating rape culture further. And it’s unacceptable.
To be clear, it is unacceptable (nay, disgusting) when…
- A college administrator says to a rape victim, “Rape is like a football game…if you look back on the game, and you’re the quarterback and you’re in charge, is there anything that you would have done differently in that situation?”
- A school slaps an Honor Code violation (with possible expulsion) on a rape victim for taking her case public (but not identifying the attacker) when they failed to act on it, calling it “intimidation.”
- When a school’s “sexual assault counselor” says to a victim, “ Are you SURE it was rape? It might have just been a bad hookup…You should forgive and forget.”
- When a college punishes a rapist by assigning him a 5-page book report or an apology letter and then tells victims he’s “been reformed.”
I could go on, but I think you get my point. As I’ve said before, rape is rape is rape is still rape. And rape is a brutal crime. A crime punishable by law–a crime that should be handled by our police and courts, not college honor or student conduct boards.
Have you read my disclaimer?