In a class action lawsuit filed August 6, 2021, four women alleged that Brown University intentionally prevented reporting of sexual assaults perpetuating a systemic culture of silencing survivors on and off campus. The goal of their lawsuit is to compel Brown to comply with Title IX, and if the judge grants it, all women who have attended the university since 2018 will be covered in the class and will be given a voice.
**********Contact us if you were assaulted at Brown or another university. We have helped hundreds of survivors access legal action.”****************
This is hardly an isolated incident in higher education.
One in four women will be assaulted during her time in college – whether by violent force or inability to consent.
Is this what women had in mind when they fought for the right to be admitted to the same universities as men? Is this the extent of our civil rights protections under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972? We don’t think so.
Universities take our money, sure. Now that we make up over half of all higher education students, they’d be stupid not to. But do they take us seriously when we speak out against sexual misconduct and violence on campus? Do they take our word at face value when we say we’ve been manipulated and abused by faculty members? Do they take names and take action when we say we were raped by their athletes?
It clearly doesn’t look that way.
Despite the efforts of #MeToo, #ChurchToo, and other similar movements, the reality is that abusers generally have power, connections, and systems that protect them.
It’s not an equal playing field by any means.
But there’s hope: Women are fighting back – and the world is finally starting to listen.
- In 2019, Dartmouth College settled a case involving 9 women alleging the school ignored years of complaints against professors in its Psych Department.
- In 2020, reports were released stating Louisiana State University repeatedly ignored and covered up complaints by women alleging sexual assaults and rapes by (at least) 11 of its athletes.
- Earlier this year, the University of Southern California settled $852 million in damages to 700+ women who were violated by a campus doctor.
ONE MAN. SEVEN HUNDRED WOMEN.
Our daughters don’t stand a chance as long as men can abuse them and remain protected by policies and systems held firmly in place by other men.
According to RAINN.org, one in six women will be a victim of an attempted or completed rape in her lifetime. And a whopping 26.4% of female undergrads will be raped or violently assaulted during their time in college. Sadly, 80% of those cases go unreported to law enforcement.
Why? A lot of reasons.
Fear of retaliation, fear they won’t be believed, thinking it is a “personal matter,” and not wanting to get the perpetrator in trouble top the list. Others think that too much time has passed.
And you know what? They were often right.
Women have not been believed. They have not been protected. They have been, in far too many cases, bullied into silence.
It has to stop.
One brave woman willing to speak out becomes two. Then four. Then eight. One voice can grow exponentially.
So what can you do if you have been assaulted?
If the assault was very recent:
- Seek medical treatment as soon as you can. Taking care of YOU should be your first priority – you don’t have to make a decision about filing a report instantly, but you do need to make sure key evidence is preserved.
- If you were raped or injured, go to a hospital to get help — but be sure to call the hospital first and ask if they have rape kits because not all hospitals do.
- Make sure you take pictures of any injuries. They will help serve as evidence in whatever action you take. Also make written notes.
- Preserve the clothes you were wearing – just put the clothes in a bag in case they are needed. Do not wash the clothing.
- Report the assault to campus authorities – this could be a teacher, a coach or some other position in authority.
- If possible, file a police report to give the authorities the same evidence as mentioned above – the photographs, clothing, and access to the rape kit results from the hospital.
- Call a trusted friend and confide in him/her.
- Most importantly, follow up with your doctor or therapist to help with both your physical and mental health!
If the assault was some time ago:
Do not assume that there is nothing you can do. The Statute of Limitations for survivors of sexual assault has opened up all over the country and there is very likely still an opportunity to report your assault and use the civil legal system to create change at your university.
Contact us for a private consultation.
Sexual harassment and assault can leave you feeling isolated, confused and angry, so if you’ve been hurt– either physically or emotionally– you deserve to be heard, and you deserve justice.
Let us help you.