Sexual assault on college campuses today is as prominent as ever. As a female college student, it is both terrifying and disappointing that we are constantly reminded to be careful of guys at parties, to not drink too much so that guys don’t take advantage of us and that if we too become victims, our campuses offer support and care to us if needed.
Boston University recently announced its new focus on sexual assault awareness and its importance on campus. It recently held a “Sexual Assault Awareness Week”, and conducted two surveys where students could give feedback on how sexual assault is in fact handled at BU. In the light of this, I among many were proud of our school. It made us feel that much more safe that our school was publicly announcing their support for sexual assault victims and actively seeking change for the norm that is sexual assault on campuses.
On the surface, all was fair and well. That is, until an anonymous female wrote an open letter to The Daily Free Press, BU’s independent student newspaper, on her experience as a sexual assault victim and BU student. For months after her attack, the victim faced stressful court action, in which her perpetrator was found guilty and then immediately granted an appeal. His suspension was somehow dropped due to the judge’s claim that the victim’s “actions” could be translated as consent.
Now, as this victim, one who represents the many around the United States who face similar experiences, walks around campus, she must live with the fear that her perpetrator is walking among her.
In her letter, she writes that this all happened at a frat party, a circumstance not so surprising in the light of other similar incidents that have occurred around the country. She also, however, explains that her perpetrator was immediately kicked out of the frat, when questioned by other members, and that the fraternity as a whole handled the situation much more respectively and generally better than BU. Yes, frat boys. Not only this, but the guys recall the perpetrator walking back into the house after the event had occurred and saying to others, he “came back for seconds.”
So, now that this boy has gotten away with rape once, who’s to say he will not go “back for seconds” and victimize other females the same exact way. As a female student at BU, one who goes to frat parties like many Freshman girls do, one that converses with strangers who I can only assume are decent individuals, it is disturbing and concerning that this boy may be among that crowd of people.
This anonymous girl is just one of the many individuals that experience rape, and must deal with the stressful months after in court and having to “convince” judges that her perpetrator was in the wrong. Despite the physical and emotional trauma such an experience has already engrained in this victim, she was forced to spend months after convincing administration that she did nothing wrong. And still today, she is forced to go to class, roam the halls and eat in the dining hall with the fear that he is still around. Not to mention that every day she must be reminded, through official documents from administration, that her perpetrator was simply being “disrespectful” and “insensitive” and should be “wiser in the future.”
And “in the future” I hope that there are no such individuals among my student body.
The victim’s official letter can be read here: http://dailyfreepress.com/2015/04/28/letter-to-the-editor-open-letter-how-bu-fails-sexual-assault-victims/
**It should be noted that The Daily Free Press fact-checked much of the information provided, and the author provided paperwork and documentation as evidence.