Friday, March 1, 2013

Raped at the University? Stay Quiet or Get Kicked Out!

Article: UNC student faces possible expulsion for speaking out about alleged sexual assault
Date Published: Tuesday, February 26, 2013

University campuses are similar to a small scale city or country. It has rules, honor codes, faculty students, and crime. At University of North Carolina sophomore student Landen Gambill reported that she was raped by her ex-boyfriend who lives right across of her on campus. However, the school's graduate attorney general charged Landen with honor code violation of disrupting behavior that interferes with another. This has terrifying consequences such as expulsion from school. When trying to figure out what actions 'intimidated' her rapist, she attended a Honor Court meeting and found out that the simple act of saying she was reaped violates this honor code.

I can understand that the university does not want to create a big scandal that could hurt its reputation, but in the other hand, their credibility is hurt more when they are discovered to be hiding these cases of rape. The students are the suppliers of tuition money for the university, maybe for them it is more profitable to expulse these kinds of students than help them in the situation. On the other hand, one of the reasons Landen has lost credibility is because of her prior history of suicide and depression. I think these are the 'effects' of being raped rather than the 'cause' of this scandal. Linking this recent rape incident with the 1994 Rwanda Genocide, women often have difficulty giving a testimony because of trouble organizing events in chronological order, side tracking from the main crime of rape, and feeling uncomfortable to describing the incident in detail. The reading "Without These Women, the Tribunal Cannot Do Anything" by Jonneke Koomen, expands on this. Therefore, I believe that the case of Landen Gambill should be studied carefully considering the effect of trauma on the stories. This opens an important question, Up to what point can the words of a raped person be credible?

Many bills and acts are in place for these situation such as the Campus Sexual Assault Victims' Bill of Rights, the Clery Act, and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). The resolution of this case will prove whether these documents are more than just words on paper. Another important thing to note is that this article does not refer to a police case, which makes it seem as if the university tried to handle the situation themselves rather than leaving it to a system of justice. This makes me loose trust in our university education system and become more aware that many cases of rape might have gone unheard of.

TV News Report by ABC Eyewitness News.

Blog Author: Aida Yoguely Cortés-Peña
NASA Student Ambassador
Undergraduate Research Assistant
Mechanical Engineering
Georgia Institute of Technology

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