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College Rape: Who Should She Call?

Saturday, April 26, 2014


Who should a college student call in the event of a sexual assault?

Recently, Brown University student Lena Sclove levied a series attacks against Brown University administrators for their handling of the discipline of her rapist, making the charges in front of a crowd of fellow Brown students and friends.

The core charge brought forth by Sclove was that Brown administrators suspended the alleged rapist for just one year after the discipline council had recommended two years - enough time for Sclove to finish her studies as a student. SEE VIDEO HERE.

Peg Langhammer, Executive Director of Day One, Rhode Island's sexual assault and trauma resource center, offered her perspective on what sexual assault survivors should know -- and that Day One is a resource to assist survivors through all steps of the process. (Day One's 24 hour a day victim-of-crime helpline is 1-800-494-8100).

"I think people should be well informed of all of their options -- and all of their options are not just keeping it on campus, "said Langhammer. "They can call us, we can talk with victims, set up crisis counseling, we're available for victims 24/7. We can help them sort out options and help them make a decision in their best interest, and they're fully informed. There's a timeliness factor."

The Providence police this week urged college students to immediately report sexual assaults.

"Sexual assault is a crime, and colleges aren't equipped to deal with crimes," continued Langhammer. "First degree sexual assault can carry a life sentence."

Colleges and Law Enforcement

"Universities are not well equipped to handle reports of sexual assaults. Their internal judicial systems were set up to handle issues like plagiarism, not violent felonies like rape or murder. While there are lots of steps that colleges could take to improve their internal systems, it is unrealistic to think that they will ever be adequate to handle such a serious problem," said Scott Berkowitz, President and Founder of RAINN (Rape, Abuse, and Incest National Network).

"On those campuses where security is handled by an entity other than local law enforcement, university/college security teams should establish a collaborative working relationship with local law enforcement," Berkowitz continued. "This is something encouraged through laws like the federal Campus SAVE Act. Survivors should be encouraged to report the assault to local law enforcement, but ultimately, it is up to them whether or not to report the crime."

Sclove enlisted the support of Robert Hoatson, Co-Founder and President of Road to Recovery in New Jersey, who explained his view of both Sclove's position -- and that of colleges.

"A student should be guaranteed of two things when going to college: a good education and safe environs. The policies of Brown U. do not allow for that right now," said Hoatson. "I recommend that all victims call the police even if there is a question about whether or not the statute of limitations applies. The first line of reporting should be the police. Colleges and universities should be mandated reporters of abuse. There is a growing movement on college campuses (even President Obama referenced it recently) to tighten up policies regarding sexual abuse. It’s long overdue."

Hoatson continued, "Why would a woman make it up? Yes, it happens occasionally that someone accuses someone unjustly, but that is very rare. I can sit with a victim for 20 minutes and gage fairly well whether or not they are telling the truth. Parental support is crucial and is the support of advocacy groups. College campuses are larger versions of families. They become so entrenched in tradition, folklore, fundraising, image-building, etc., that they forget to treat each person as an individual. Colleges are afraid that negative publicity will affect the bottom line."

Title IX Implications

Anne Hedgepeth with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) spoke to how adherence for colleges to Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, a federal civil rights law that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding.

Advocacy group "End Rape on Campus" explains Title IX implications. "Sex discrimination includes sexual harassment, sexual battery, sexual assault, and rape that are “so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively bars the victim’s access to an educational opportunity or benefit.” Even a single instance of rape or sexual assault by another student, faculty, or staff member could meet this standard."

"The point is that schools are supposed to providing an equitable opportunity and a safe environment for all students on campus," said Hedgepeth. "What that comes down to is dealing with a hostile environment. And that's not the same as sufficient judgment in the criminal justice system. The role of colleges is to help survivors. There's an absolute requirement they speak to a safe environment."

Hedgepeth noted that the Obama Administration is due to release its report on its "Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault" that was established earlier this year -- as early as this week.

The Obama Administration said in January, "The prevalence of rape and sexual assault at our Nation's institutions of higher education is both deeply troubling and a call to action. Studies show that about one in five women is a survivor of attempted or completed sexual violence while in college. In addition, a substantial number of men experience sexual violence during college. Although schools have made progress in addressing rape and sexual assault, more needs to be done to ensure safe, secure environments for students of higher education."

"It's been a great and busy time, the spotlight's shining on the issue," said Hedgepeth, of April being "National Sexual Assault Awareness Month." "AAUW's excited to see these steps in enforcement and transparency -- and survivors coming bravely forward to share their tales had been a huge part of moving this issue forward."


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It appears that the raper was more important to Brown. Money and influence do go a long way at that school.

Comment #1 by Roy D on 2014 04 26

If a college handles a rape, and finds there was one, and does not report it to the police, why aren't the people involved arrested for aiding and abetting?

Comment #2 by John McGrath on 2014 04 26

Why does't she sue the rapist, and the people who made that decision, in Civil Court? Make them pay big money. That just might change their behavior. Seeif the rich family steps up to pay the damages so letting off rich kids can continue.

Comment #3 by John McGrath on 2014 04 26


Comment #4 by lupe fiasco on 2014 04 26

Good point John M. . Since when does a college administrator handle a rape case? It makes you wonder that if this type of serious allegation is handled by a disciplinary board at Brown, behind closed doors, what else is going on?

Comment #5 by Roy D on 2014 04 26

Roy D & John McGrath -

Agree. Completely. Rape is a serious crime, not an 'administrative irregularity' to be shuffled and forgotten by some 'administrator'.

What happened here is vintage Brown, as our family can attest: Rape at Brown is the flip side of the old song known as 'Brown will do anything for money'.

Brown might lose a tuppence or two if the rich kid rapist's family gets its nose out of joint? Let's not rock the boat, just put some more oil on the bedsprings and tell the victims to enjoy it. That's the Brown way.

Brown, thru its clever Dr. Ehrlich, looted millions from our family. When asked about it, two Brown presidents lied in writing and denied everything, rather than come clean and own up to what they did.

Brown is a rich, fat old whore who'll do anything for money, so of course sex-crimes come easy to it.

Expect more of this.

Comment #6 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 27

So agreeing with others here on this is a law enforcement case and not school administration.

Suspension for a year? Sorry no. Court of law trial and ruling. If found guilty, we don't have to worry about the suspension unless Brown has an annex at the ACI.

Comment #7 by Wuggly Ump on 2014 04 28

Brown's paid prevaricators did a masterful job of obscuring the truth, in keeping with their tradition.

First thing one does in response to a sex crime is get the victim to a hospital. That's been standard practice for decades. Salve Regina's gave seminars to its crim students on that as far back as the 70s.

Was that done here? Not likely.

That's so basic, it's like saying first thing you do with a cut is stop the bleeding: in a rape, you get the victim to the hospital.

All the rest is just Brown as usual oiling the bedsprings, covering the lies, to keep the cash flowing to its ever-open pie-hole.

Comment #8 by paul zecchino on 2014 04 28

How about calling 911 like the rest of the entire country???? Why would you even think about calling a rent a cop for a real crime? And they consider themselves educated college students? Sounds like a waste of money to me.

Comment #9 by pearl fanch on 2014 04 28

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