4/05/2011

Berea College blames victim of sexual assault for her injury

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month and this is not the way to begin. The article  College denies responsibility for student assault is exactly the attitude that this month tries to combat. As Berea College blames a victim of sexual assault for being hurt the importance of education about sexual violence is clearly demonstrated.

The article above quotes a statement saying Berea College isn’t responsible "because the victim placed herself in a position to be harmed and did not take action to prevent her injuries".  (Never mind the professor – student relationship.)

I'm not a legal expert and don't know if they have a legal responsibility or not. I know that it’s always wrong when someone blames a victim. Sexual assault is never the victim’s fault. No means no.

If there isn't a legal responsibility there's a moral responsibility to support students and staff. To do anything else is wrong. Is it necessary that legal counsel for Berea College blames a victim of sexual assault? I think not. In the end, I think it's going to be counter productive.

Someone is sexually assaulted every 2 minutes in the U.S. If that isn't bad enough then consider this... Students on college campuses are 4 times more likely to be victimized.

April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month. Advocates and educators have been working for years to reduce the numbers of students who have been victimized. 

Now, just as it looks like the awareness efforts are starting to pay off we see that legal counsel for Berea College blames a victim of sexual assault for her injuries. There is no way to know how many years of work this will undo.

The former professor pleaded guilty and received his sentence. As sexual assault awareness month rolls in we can clearly see that the victim has been given two sentences.

The first comes from having to carry victimization for her lifetime. The second sentence is wrongly being told the sexual assault was her fault. Over time, it may be that this second sentence is the hardest for her to overcome. Blog posts like this tell her that she is not alone. I can only hope that knowledge brings her comfort.

As for the school...

Where's the dislike button when you need one? As Berea College blames a victim of sexual assault I feel the need for a big "thumbs down". 

3 comments:

  1. Totally in agreement with you!

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  2. Thanks for publishing this and continuing to raise awareness on this vital topic. rcj

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  3. I am a Berea graduate, and I know that faculty are encouraged to have personal interactions with students. Inviting students to visit their homes or to have meals (a genuine tea ceremony was one I attended at a professor's house)there is part of the culture. Thus, the fact that a student was at a professor's house in no way means she was responsible for her assault. This is just plain wrongheaded--and a terrible irony since Berea bills itself as a school which supports equality among races and genders.

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