To all of the assholes last week whose comments both deleted and published demanded proof — proof, I say! — that we live in a rape culture and that men who are undoubtedly guilty of sexual assault very regularly get away with their crimes: here you go, assholes.
The guy who admitted to attempted sexual assault but was acquitted and got to keep his job as County Commissioner has nothing on the guy who raped a woman in her dorm room, was found guilty by the school of committing the rape, is on record as saying “I know what I did was wrong” and still got to keep his job as an Resident Assistant. Emphasis mine (and a trigger warning):
“I remember him kissing me, and I remember putting my hand out and saying, ‘no,’” Erika said. “We get back to my room, and he [said] he [was] going to tuck me into bed. … That’s when the assault happened.”
Erika said she didn’t remember much else about what happened that night, but she was suspicious because her friend was still in bed with her when she woke up. She said she got a rape test that morning, but the results came back inconclusive. Later that night her friend told her through an instant message that he had forced her to have oral sex with him, she said.
Erika said she had not spoken publicly about her attack until she attended a meeting last week in response to the Feb. 3 rape in Emerson Hall.
Erika said her alleged assailant was a resident assistant in East Tower. The incident took place in Terrace 10. She said she reported the attack to Public Safety immediately, and after they completed their investigation, the case was turned over to the Office of Judicial Affairs.
Erika said Mike Leary, assistant director of judicial affairs, told her they found her assailant guilty and placed him on disciplinary probation, but they could not remove him from his position as an RA.
When reached by e-mail, the alleged attacker confirmed that he was accused of sexually assaulting Erika and that he was not terminated from his position as an RA after the incident occurred.
“I know what I did was wrong,” he said in the e-mail. “I’ve learned a great deal from the whole situation.”
Leary confirmed he spoke with Erika regarding her assailant’s judicial case but could not comment further because of privacy reasons.
Erika said she was devastated when she found out her alleged assailant was keeping his job.
When asked why the alleged attacker was allowed to remain as an RA, Bonnie Solt Prunty, director of the Office of Residential Life, said she could not comment on personnel issues.
Prunty said the circumstances under which an RA could be removed vary.
“It is a case by case review … depending on what the violation was and a determination of what the appropriate outcome is for the staff member,” she said.
Prunty said sometimes there is a one-strike removal policy because the violation is so significant.
“For instance, if we had an RA who was dealing drugs, they’d be terminated,” Prunty said. “If they were possessing drugs, smoking pot in the residence halls, those would be the kinds of things that would result in termination.”
Please, do let that sink in. Because it took me a minute to actually understand what is being said here. When I found the story through SAFER and saw the headline “Because smoking pot is worse than raping someone,” I thought that the two had to be slightly less related. Like, perhaps, that someone else had lost their job for possessing pot a few years ago, but now the rapist gets to keep his. That would have been more than bad enough. The fact that he got to keep his job at all is bad enough. But the Office of Residential Life actually admitted that someone who was dealing or possessing drugs would without a doubt be terminated, and that “significant” violations adhere to a a “one-strike removal policy.” And you know what isn’t on that list? Rape.
But the rape apologists need some proof that sexual assault isn’t considered to be a crime deserving of serious consequences, that our society both condones rape and sees it as a fucking joke. And hey, where the hell are we going to find that?
As those of you who are regular readers could have probably already guessed, it gets worse. It always gets worse. From yesterday’s editorial in the campus newspaper (again, emphasis mine):
The rape reported Feb. 3 reminds us that sexual assault is a sobering reality.
IC Feminists and SAFER responded to the attack with an open meeting to discuss sexual assault. At the gathering — because of the gathering — two more rape victims came forward to share their accounts of rape, which they said happened on campus during the 2006-07 school year. Both victims said they knew their assailants, one of whom was a Resident Assistant at the time of the attack. Both victims also reported the rapes to the Office of Public Safety, but Public Safety did not alert the rest of the community.
The way these rapes were dealt with in the hands of Residential Life and Public Safety officials is counterintuitive. Leaving rapes unreported should never happen; an RA should never be allowed to keep his or her job after being found guilty of a crime such as rape.
The Office of Public Safety said it did not issue a Public Safety Alert for the rape reported in October 2006, nor for the rape reported last Friday, because both victims knew their assailants. By this logic, alerts are issued when Public Safety is still seeking an attacker, but not if the attackers remain on campus.
[. . .]
It seems that by making these decisions, both offices decided that it was not important to inform the campus, much less the RA’s residents, that a student with access to many residence halls was under investigation for rape.
These fuckers are giving the immoral assholes at UW a run for their money.
The school feels absolutely no responsibility to inform the students of an alleged or known rapist in their midst, if the victim knew her rapist.
You know what’s exceedingly convenient? That every rapist at Ithaca College only knows one woman. And he’s already raped her! No reason to get people into a panic, right?
I really hate to bring this up, especially seeing the horrible campus shooting that took place in Illinois yesterday, but does this kind of policy scream “Virginia Tech” to anyone else? Remember, the first shooting victim who was killed in her dorm room, but no one felt the need to alert the student body due to assumptions that it was some kind of “personal dispute”? You know, because men murder women all the time, and it is indeed true that most of the time, that man intimately knows his victim. Nothing to worry about. The assumption was apparently that the shooter, too, only knew one woman. And he had already killed her. No reason to get people into a panic, right?
But back to the news at hand, which is currently making me feel physically ill. The good news is that the campus feminist group is on the case, and demanding to be taken seriously:
Junior Sarah Brylinsky, a board member of IC Feminists, said she wants to change the policy that allowed Erika’s alleged attacker to keep his job.
“Is there really a system in place that thwarts [punishment]?” Brylinsky said. “I think we’d all like to update our response into a proactive policy.”
Brylinsky said the IC Feminists would like to have a collaborative effort with the student body, faculty and the offices of Residential Life and Judicial Affairs to reform the campus’s response to rape and create a culture of respect towards women.
Brylinksky and some members of IC Feminists will be meeting today with officials in the Office of Judicial Affairs to start discussing changes to the process.
“The creation of this culture won’t happen through a poster campaign, a rally or educational events,” Brylinsky said. “It will happen when each and every individual finds the strength to speak out against … rape culture in their lives.”
While I actually think that a massive demonstration outside the Office of Judicial Affairs is in order, if for nothing other than a place to vent, be publicly recognized and to alert those who don’t read the paper of how their school treats its female students, Brylinsky does have something of a point. And if they’ve already managed to get a meeting and have sincere reason to believe that their voices are going to be heard and listened to, I hope that they’re right. Personally, I’m not holding my breath. But I do have hope.
And no matter what happens, we can feel better knowing this situation to be so common that SAFER already sells an applicable protest tee-shirt. You might want to stock up.