Letters to Editor, Opinion

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Open Letter: How BU fails sexual assault victims

To my fellow Terriers:

This is probably going to sound familiar.

College administrations’ mishandling of rape and sexual assault cases is old news by now, but the sentiment I’ve heard from many of the students at this school is: “Not here. Not on my campus.” I wish that were true. I wish I could say that the Boston University administration has gotten better since someone filed a complaint. I wish I could say that they care about survivors.

They don’t.

My story is also a familiar one: it starts at a frat party and it ends seven months later with a thick folder of official paperwork and nothing to show for it except a figurative and patronizing pat on the head. My assailant will not be punished by the university for what he did to me.

I am not going to re-hash the details of my assault here; this letter is not about the violence that occurred on that one night (nor the emotional trauma it has caused me since then). It is about the ongoing violence of administrative negligence. It is an answer to the question, “why don’t more survivors report?”

I did what I was supposed to do. I reported what happened to BU’s judicial committee. I cooperated with the investigators. I patiently told and re-told my story to them, even as my assailant changed his story. He lied about details he would later recant, telling the committee he made them up because he was “scared.”

At the end of the first judicial process, my assailant admitted to the investigators that he “made an assumption” and that he was “wrong.” The judicial committee found him responsible for rape and suspended him for a semester. I was relieved. I was proud of BU. It had taken most of my first semester, but they had come to the right decision. They told my assailant his behavior was unacceptable, and they thanked me for coming forward.

Then, my assailant was automatically granted an appeal based on no new evidence. For some reason, he was allowed to bypass a hearing board and appeal directly to the provost, eliminating any chance of appeal for me, something the Dean of Students and the investigators told me multiple times I would have. My assailant requested a stay of suspension from the provost. I sent an email to the provost asking what grounds he had for this request. She did not respond. This was on a Friday. I submitted my official response to his request on the following Monday (the time limit I was given for responding), and the provost approved his stay of suspension the next day, around lunchtime. He was once again allowed to take classes here.

My assailant lawyered up with some “white collar litigators” who compiled a nine-page rebuttal packet, including a page of totally irrelevant background information on my assailant (there was an extensive list of his extracurricular activities), followed by eight pages of blaming me for the assault. The statement that I had “never told him to stop” was bolded. The lawyers claimed that I had gone through this horrible, months-long judicial process because I “was not sexually satisfied.”

All of the appeal paperwork was submitted at the end of January. I waited. And waited. I sent another email to the provost to ask if I could be given a rough timeframe for a final decision. No response. I waited some more. The provost never asked to speak to me in person. It was not until April that I received the decision over email. Other than some gentle scolding, the provost did not punish my assailant for raping me. She revoked the suspension. She called his behavior “disrespectful” and “insensitive,” but ultimately said that my “actions” were enough for him to determine that I was consenting. What actions? I don’t know. She never says.

The provost did not even respect me enough to take five minutes to proofread her letter before she sent it, as she refers to my assailant as a “Ms.” several times. These errors were corrected about 30 minutes later in a follow-up email. The envelope that the paper copy of the decision letter came in had the wrong dorm address typed on it and the correct one crudely scratched over in pen.

Meanwhile, the leaders of the frat my assailant was pledging had told the judicial committee they dropped him as soon as they questioned him about what happened the night he assaulted me. When they brought it up to him, he “dropped to his knees and begged [them] to let him stay [in the frat].” The brothers describe his behavior as “sketchy,” “embarrassing” and “like he knew he messed up.” These are fraternity brothers saying this. The fraternity handled this case better than the BU administration.

In her letter to him, the provost tells my assailant she hopes he will be “wiser” in the future. How does she expect him to be wiser if he knows he can get away with rape? After returning to the party the night of the assault, my assailant told some boys that he “came back for seconds.” I am a person, not a meal that he chewed up and spat out. I fear for any other woman whom he decides will be his “seconds,” because now he knows he will not be punished.

I am writing this because I am left with no other options. I asked BU for justice, but I was victimized again. Their system overturned its own decision with no new evidence, suggesting at the least, a remarkable lack of training, and at worst, a system that is designed to injure those already hurt.

I was abandoned, like so many other women, by the institution that was supposed to protect me. BU puts up a pretty good front: they let everyone know when they suspend a fraternity, or when their sexual assault appeals policy has been updated (not that it did me any good), but these actions mean absolutely nothing if they let rapists stay on campus.

I am choosing to remain anonymous because I could be any person at BU. I am not the first, and if nothing changes, I will not be the last. If the administration does nothing with the cases it is given, rape and sexual assault will continue to happen. It happens here. It happens at BU.

#ThisCouldBU

Sincerely,

That Girl In Your Class, In The GSU And On Your Floor

72 Comments

  1. We at ISCE.edu are creating a program to help ensure this kind of thing STOPS see http://protectequalsrespect.com

  2. It took an INCREDIBLE amount of strength for you to write this and share, thank you.

    • COOL my picture showed up so everyone knows it’s Rosie, but let’s get real. If perpetrators of sexual violence were treated like students who plagiarize and cheat on exams, we’d see more justice, especially for survivors.

  3. This student has courage but willl need much counciling and sufferings her life and whoever swept it under the rug, whether you believe in another power/energy or not ,you will have to answer to HIM. Your job is to protect HIS children, this is no joke. I am so sorry for this young lady and am giving her a huge angel hug. I wish I could talk to her. Pray for truth surround yourself with people that seek TRUTH.

  4. Although I do not condone rape, I believe this is very one sided and should be read with caution. As a fellow student at BU, I was taught to look at fallacies in argument. Considering this article is full of straw manning and the blame game, I am curious to hear BU’s response to this public attack. It appears to me, this girl was unhappy with the BU judicial decision, instead of attacking BU as institution that condones rape, maybe we should take a look at the underage drinking issue viewed as a norm in college.

    • Ray- yes, this is only one side of a story, but it is written professionally and factually. Either way, if a girl claims she has been raped, it’s not up to you (or anyone else) to look for “fallacies” in her story and undermine her truth. It is terrifying to know that we are sharing a campus with a rapist.

      Please don’t change the subject. Please don’t make this about underage drinking. If you murder someone while drunk, you are still punished for the murder. Rape is a heinous crime regardless of the BAC of the rapist or the victim. Making this about drinking opens up the possibility of blaming the victim here, and the problem that she has brought to light has to do with dysfunction and disrespect she experienced beyond the rape itself.

      Hats off to the woman who wrote this. I was one of the people who thought this could never happen at my school. Thank you.

      • What exactly is factual in this article? I read a story that has zero citations, and leaves no mention of whom the author might be. You can in no way prove any of what this article claims.

        The individual you responded to is simply stating that you cannot simply say, “I was raped,” and not provide any evidence for it. That’s exactly what this article does. Yes, I care if the author was raped and all of these injustices happened to her, but ultimately there needs to be an official account of what happened for anyone to determine just that.

        • You are all over this comments section asking for “citations.” What do you think, there is a peer-reviewed journal article that can back up this person’s rape? You have ignored the details below indicating that the paper substantiated the details of this account.

        • you are the problem.

        • There was an actual account that was provided to the judicial committee. If you read the post, the author clearly states “I am not going to re-hash the details of my assault here; this letter is not about the violence that occurred on that one night (nor the emotional trauma it has caused me since then). It is about the ongoing violence of administrative negligence.”
          She chooses who she shares her story with, and just because she doesn’t choose to list every piece of evidence here does not mean that her account is untrue.

          • And that’s exactly the point. She simply says “I am not going to re-hash the details” that proves nothing when comes to the factual nature of this story. You claim there was an actual account of the incident that was provided to the judicial committee. Okay. Where is it?

          • Hey, @anonymous, if you can pull your head out of your own anus for about two seconds, you might want to take a look at this: http://www.bostonmagazine.com/news/blog/2015/04/28/bu-rape-survivor-letter/
            The victim corroborated her story with paperwork from the case. You are missing the entire point of the letter by whining about documentation. If the victim’s story was untrue, if this case didn’t exist, BU could have come out in about 30 seconds and said, “This didn’t happen.” But they haven’t. They have said nothing specific about it; they have not denied that it happened, which they very well could have if it did not occur exactly like this. The point of this letter is to talk about the gross negligence of the administration, not pull up every single gruesome detail of the rape to be tried in a court of your opinion. Chances are, if she had posted the details, you’d still be saying, “Where’s the proof?” You can’t post confidential documents online without the threat of legal ramifications from any number of people involved. The Daily Free Press has the documents. So does the judicial committee. I don’t understand why it’s so hard for you to believe that this happened without an MLA cited bibliography.

    • You are so brave for writing this and sharing what happened to you. All I can say is I’m so incredibly sorry about what happened and how it was handled. I wish it was rare. I wish you, I, or any other women on campus could feel safe and could be sure that if something horrific like sexual assault happened, we would be backed up by the administration.

  5. As a fellow female student victim who went through the BU sexual assault hearing process, I understand the helplessness, frustration, and fear the author feels. The trend of the administration’s response is that of victim blaming. Young freshman boys arrive to frat party in flocks on weekends with the goal, and I quote, to, “hook up with as many hot bitches as possible.” In addition to alcohol edu, BU should improve its efforts on sexual assault education for all its incoming freshmen and better train its staff to deal with sexual assault violations.

    • Does “hook up with as many hot bitches as possible” in automatically imply raping them?

      • No, the male sexual libido combined with a blatant disregard for women does not automatically imply rape, but, unfortunately, it does not deny that rape could happen.

        This person was not trying to blame men and say that every drunk college guy who wants to “hook up with as many hot bitches as possible.” is automatically raping them. They are instead trying to say that this kind of behavior and mind set can lead to rape.

  6. @Ray rape and sexual assault cannot be addressed by examining underage drinking. the victim is not to blame in a rape. Rape is caused by rapists. Beware of your own internalized fallacies.

  7. “I did what I was supposed to do. I reported what happened to BU’s judicial committee.”

    NO.

    If you are raped, PLEASE immediately call the police – the actual police. Rape is a serious crime, do not wait one moment to go to a university’s administration. That makes no sense in any way.

    Call the police, and get to an Emergency Room as fast as possible to get a Rape Kit. Do NOT shower yourself, or clean anything off of you. This can destroy evidence against your rapist. Get to an ER as fast as possible and report the rape in detail, and report it to the real police as well.

    • The problem with putting so much weight on getting a rape kit is that the physical evidence can just as easily be used to prove consensual sex. The fact that someone else’s DNA was found on the victim does not objectively prove that a rape occurred, despite the fact that only 2-8% of accusations are false and the majority of people who report are telling the truth.

      Universities are notoriously terrible at dealing with reports of sexual assault, but lets not pretend that the police are any better.

      • A rape kit and going to the police are not meant to only prove the existence of DNA on a person’s body.

      • “The problem with putting so much weight on getting a rape kit is that the physical evidence can just as easily be used to prove consensual sex.”

        a) I’m not putting so much weight on a rape kit, it’s not a magical end-all-be-all solution, but invoking one is better than not.

        b) Yes, rape regardless of a rape kit is hard to prove and can be spun into or viewed as being consensual. But if it’s not, then it’s worth the effort to do everything possible to get criminal charges against the rapist.

        “The fact that someone else’s DNA was found on the victim does not objectively prove that a rape occurred.”

        Again: of course, and nobody said it would. But a claim with the presence of the alleged perpetrator’s DNA is more substantiated than one without, so it’s best to use every tool available to help verify the claim.

        “Universities are notoriously terrible at dealing with reports of sexual assault, but lets not pretend that the police are any better.”

        There’s obviously lots of problems with the real police. But of course they are different than a university’s administration.

        Going to a college’s teachers/administrators for a very serious crime is like going to a college’s class president for a serious political issue – what happens in the confines of the university is little more than a proxy for what is happening in the actual, real world.

        Treating rape so casually as to say that going to some university administrators is good enough is an insult – go to the real police, and treat it like the real crime that it is.

        All of the following claims I’m making about the police are correct:
        1. They can be and often are corrupt.
        2. They can be and often are racist.
        3. They can be and often are flippant.
        4. They can be and often are insensitive to rape cases.
        5. They can levy harder punishments on rapists if proven guilty, and invoke more resources and authority for investigation than a university administration board-of-something-or-other.
        6. All of the above things except for #5 are 100% equally as true about any university administration, so if it’s an up-hill battle anyway, why not fight the fight that might actually end up with the rapist in jail?

        Go to the real police if you are the victim of a real crime. Please!

        • @Persun A. Mann

          You clearly have a lot of ignorance about the TRAUMA that rape causes. After you’ve been violated in the most intimate way physically and spiritually possible, the LAST place you want to run to is a place full of strangers who who are going to physically re-violate you (while taking photos this time!)

          Get a clue; getting a rape kit is like getting raped a second time. You clearly have very little understanding of what the process is like if you think anyone would be running to have one done.

          • Another Survivor

            “A Survivor” said it right. In the moment, which for me was a month ago, also here at BU, everything is blank. Reading the messages from Person A Mann hurts. You are trying to help, but you are thinking from such an outside perspective and not whatsoever about us-the victims. I am still hurting. A month later, I still am too afraid to look a man in the eye, never mind call one up to get a rape kit that night. When something like this happens where you are supposed to be safe, everything else in your mind goes blank. There is no right, or thoughts about persecution, there is just survival. Had I thought that a rape kit was in my future, there may not have been the survival. I can’t even think about it now, the amount of pain and trauma I am still experiencing after a month of healing. Think about it some more. Maybe once I can leave my room or look in the mirror again I can think about the police. For now, if you are looking for me, I will be alone, unsupported, in my BU dorm, with people telling me what I should have done.

          • As a fellow rape survivor I agree with Persun A. Mann. Yes, being raped is a horrible, soul crushing, awful experience, and I know that getting a rape kit can feel JUST as awful.

            But thinking that a rape kit is getting raped all over again is a harsh way to think about this. Rape kits are meant to catch your rapist, they are an important health care and legal system tool used to identify the person who attacked you and coraborate your story. There are many things you can do while getting a rape kit to fit your personal mindset, you can ask for a female/male nurse, you can ask for a secluded place and time alone, and you can even ask for food or juice. You can have POWER in your decisions when you ask for a rape kit, unlike during your rape.

            You may feel powerless, and alone, but the nurses and doctors that run rape kits are there to help you, and will do any thing in your power to make you feel more comfortable, also, unlike your rapist. (also I am an aspiring nurse so I can only attest to my feelings alone, but I am probably not the only one here).

            Please, do not say getting a rape kit is like being raped all over again, because if you think like that (which is not true to the other people involved in taking rape kits, THEY DO NOT WANT TO RAPE YOU), then of course you will fear the tool meant to help you actualize justice and power over your rapist.

            I know it is hard to imagine, and it’s the hardest thing to ask of someone when they have just been stripped of all power and dignity, but getting a rape kit and giving a statement is a good first step in taking the power back. I’m not saying that survivors who have preferred not to do a rape kit due to their trauma are in the wrong, but I do believe they are in despair. Despair has a horrible side effect of erasing sound judgement which is completely understandable, but this life is cruel, trauma is cruel, rape is cruel. Rape kits are not cruel, they are sometimes one of the better options after a rape, and they require a LOT of courage. If Rape survivors like us have the courage to be raped and survive, then it only takes a little more courage to help yourself and take the first step in trying to actualize justice for yourself. I wish there was a less invasive way to take rape kits, but until there is, know that rape kits are meant to HELP you, not rape you, and although you may feel like a rape kit is rape at the moment, take a deep breath, ask for a glass of water, or a minute to cry your eyes out, and continue being brave. Every bit of courage is a god send in these situations. Do what you know you can do first to rectify the situation, then others will follow and do what they can do.

  8. First, I would like to say that you are so brave and strong for writing this article in the first place. I am proud of you. I am so sorry that the school did not handle your case properly. Unfortunately, I cant say I’m surprised. So many schools do a terrible job of handling sexual assault, sexual misconduct, and rape. I can relate because I have gone through the school’s hearing process as well, and the school did nothing about my assailant. He did not get punished at all. Whereas, my school has suspended MANY other students who have plagerized or cheated on a test. But no, my assailant did not get a single punishment for ruining my life and for assaulting me and for taking advantage of me and the situation. I hope that one day universities will realize that they are only promoting rape culture and telling society that assault and rape is “okay”. I’m so disgusted and disappointed in BU, as well as my school.

  9. Thank you for writing this. I’m sad to say that I once thought of BU as better than other schools when it came to sexual assault. It has become clear in recent months (this article, the sexual assault hotline loop, refusing to rescind the Cosby honorary degree, etc.) that they care about survivors insofar as it helps them enroll more students and increase alumni donations, but no more. A disturbing lack of empathy.

  10. Rape is a horrible thing and it is a crime. But college administrators can only do so much.

    “I am writing this because I am left with no other options.”

    One can and should go to the police, especially if one is not happy with how a college is handling the situation.

    • You are correct in condemning rape as a crime, but you are delusional if you think going to the police to address a situation like this is an easy task. Years of litigation, financial burden, public slut shaming, and a high possibility of loosing one’s case all make going to the police a much more daunting task than you’re claiming.

      Ultimately, you’ve missed the point of this letter. She didn’t write this letter looking for a “how to” guide on sexual assault proceedings; rather, she wrote about her experience with BU administration to expose a clearly flawed system. Whether or not you believe college administration is the most appropriate avenue to seek justice is totally irrelevant to the matter at hand. The author is simply showing us that the was victimized twice (once by the rapist and once by the organization that’s designed to protect her). Unless you believe that BU bears no responsibility in trying to rectify such an assault, then you must see the need for improving such a flawed and damaging bureaucratic process.

      The author went to BU administration because she wanted to continue as a normal student. She wanted more than one fateful night to determine her college experience. Saying that “college administrators can only do so much” is a disgrace. The simple truth is that college administrators could have done more, and that’s what we should be focusing on.

      • What I don’t understand is why does being in college make this such a unique situation? Let’s say two young people who are not in college live in the same apartment building, and one accuses the other of rape. There is no college administration to go to. Yet the victim must still see their attacker on a regular basis. The victim would have no choice but to go to the police. And if the experience of going to the police for rape victim is so bad, then we should try to improve that, not rely on pseudo-police who can only sort-of bring any resolution to the incident.

        • The reason being in college is a unique situation is because federal education laws give students certain rights, like the right to learn without having to deal with a “hostile campus environment”. Students need these laws enforced so that they don’t have to transfer and leave their community if someone violates their civil rights.

          Your comparison to people living in apartments doesn’t make sense because those people also have recourses besides the police: landlords (who have lots of leeway to remove unwanted tenants, esp. those not on leases, or month-to-month ones), condo/renter’s associations (some of which have conduct codes), and civil courts.

  11. Thank you for posting this. This is really what I needed today. To know I’m not alone. I’m another BU student. Like she said, any person at BU. I was also raped. Here. On campus by a student. Where is he? Going about his daily life. Where am I? Struggling to pass my classes in the final week of school because my professors and administration have decided I am “privileged and coddled” for not going to my classes or completing my work on time. They all know what happened, yet I am the one who continues to suffer. I am the one who receives threatening voicemails from professors and TAs for attendance problems because I am too afraid to walk down Comm ave alone. Whose here to help me now? Not BU.

  12. You are an inspiration, thank you for sharing this. I am writing every center and person that you listed in this article. I’m sorry that you had to go through this, lets rally and show BU Administration that this is unacceptable.

  13. BU’s Feminist Collective will be talking about this letter and what we, as students, can do to show support for this person and what we can do to tell administration that this in unacceptable.

    Come tomorrow at 7 pm in the Center for Gender, Sexuality and Activism to talk about what we can do.

    Let’s rally together to show support for the author and make a plan for change.

    FB Event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1583761158570992/

    *This will be a safer space for survivors of sexual assault. Please come with your support. Thank you to whoever wrote this. You have support here at BU, even if it’s not within the administration.

  14. To those saying victims should go to the police…do you have any idea of what the process is like from start to finish? Do you know all of the steps involved in a rape kit? Do you know that cases take years to actually come to a trial and then the perpetrator is rarely found guilty?

    I’m not saying victims shouldn’t go to the police, but don’t suggest things will be so different if they do. Take a good look at the Jamis Winston case at FSU.

    This is a problem that’s bigger than one administration or one police department.

    Kudos to the writer of this letter…continuing the conversation on the campus can only help!

    • Do you want evidence to be able to prosecute against your assailant? Yes? Then go to the police immediately.

      The more time you wait, the more the evidence degenerates, and the flimsier your case becomes. You are doing a huge disservice telling rape victims otherwise.

      I know its like really hard to believe, but saying you were raped is not enough to prove that you were.

      • It doesn’t really sound like you understand what an actual police investigation looks like. First of all, the vast majority of rapes (especially on college campuses) are not very violent and are committed by people close to the victim. The physical evidence gained from “rape kits” is often quite only semen or lube/spermicide residue, which is actually quite useless when the perp’s identity is already known and simply claims consent.

        Please stop promoting the idea that all rape victims need rape kits to “prove” their case, when in reality most rape convictions come from cases where the perp made either a full confession or some damning admissions, or was caught by digital evidence.

        • Digital evidence is one thing, but you and your like are taking the definition of rape and exacerbating it to a degree that makes the word almost meaningless. It is absolutely disgraceful, and worse, it completely denigrates the cases of those who have actually been a victim of these crimes.

          Being drunk while having sex is not an immediate criteria for having been raped.

  15. I feel for the author and wish her all the best, but I don’t quite understand why she assumes that the university is the sole arbiter of guilt.

    We pay taxes to fund a legal system to put these types of criminals behind bars. If there was a murder on campus I would hope the case would NOT remain behind BU doors. So why do we automatically assume a university should handle a rape? Doesn’t that mentality down play the severity of the crime to begin with? You will report a robbery to the cops, but a rape is just kept on campus. That’s ridiculous.

    Is what the university did wrong? Yes. But not actually trying to pursue real action against her aggressor gives him more wiggle room to slip through the cracks.

    • It’s really simple…the police have mishandled these types of cases for generations. So, victims have turned to what feels the best (or even only) option, their schools.

      Please look more closely at the history of the way police have handled sexual violence cases, if you don’t understand how little faith woman have in the criminal justice system: hundreds of thousands of rape kits untested, officers that blame victims as soon as they report, most offenders get slaps on the wrist or downgraded to non-sexual offenses, and even serial rapists get laughably light sentences (that get shortened even more due to early parole, good behavior, overcrowding).

      And that’s if you’ve been lucky enough to even be contacted by the police. When I went with a friend to get her rape kit 2 years ago, the police never even followed up. She had to get a legislator involved to even talk to a detective. So, if an upper class white girl can’t even talk to a detective in a major city after being gang raped by people with past convictions, well…god help us all.

  16. Whil this story is tragic, again this same story details the same incident that the rolling stone wrote an article about this past year, which ended up being a falsification.

    • It actually … wasn’t a falsification. It was handled similarly to the way this one was handled, and devastatingly the woman was shamed and ridiculed for coming forward and trying to get justice after her attack.

      • Yeah… But no. You are completely wrong and that entire Rolling Stone article was based on falsifications.

        Please cite what incident this article is referring to so people can look at the details.

        • the whole idea of her being anonymous is so she doesn’t have to have her name dragged through the mud as people (like you) are wont to do in situations such as this. It’s horrific and it’s common enough that it’s referred to at the “second rape” — she has already patiently repeated the story of probably one of the most horrific things that has ever happened to her again and again looking for justice. It sickens me that people still need “citations” to stand with her.

      • Except that’s not what happened. Multiple news organizations proved the victim’s story in the RS case was false in numerous spots. They could not even prove the assailant she claimed existed.

        This story is the polar opposite, the victim has, from the Boston Magazine article, shown documentation to the Freep to back her claims. Believe me, if this were a falsified story, BU would be all over this in the media. They can fact check this from their end in about 30 seconds if the victim here is making up her claims that the provost of the university unilaterally wiped clean a rape suspension handed down by Judicial Affairs.

  17. I don’t get why you didn’t and are not reporting this to the police. While your university should have zero tolerance for such an activity, you shouldn’t expect justice from them.
    Technically, the guy deserves a jail sentence and not a semester long suspension. If you really want justice, I’d urge you to continue to fight it out and write every single detail online so that your case is scrutizined by all and the guy is publically shamed online if he is at fault. A rapist’s identity doesn’t deserve to be protected.
    People will plaud you for being brave. But your bravery stems from how society looks at rape victims, it won’t give you justice. Channel your bravery where it matters and fight it out in court.

  18. Your story makes me think of my own. I am just beginning to talk about my own experience at BU where I was raped by one of my classmates. He worked for the Dean of Students. I visited Student Health and was told “I needed to get over the guy”. BU doesn’t need to take responsibility for his actions, but the administration does needs to create an environment where it is safe for survivors to continue with life.

  19. I have close friends who have endured this same pain. Administration, I won’t outright name people here, but please please please investigate ZBT and pike. Those frats are notorious and for good reason.

    • So they’re going to launch an investigation on two frats because you claim those frats have a history of raping women? If you’re going through around accusations, back them up with something remotely factual.

  20. What an incredibly important message to share.

    I find it telling and sad that so many people have commented with such classic victim blaming phrases and excuses.

    This is an open letter speaking the story of this young woman and her experience with how BU handles sexual assault. It isn’t about how the police handle it or what you should do if you get raped.

    (Which frankly, unless you have been sexually assaulted you have no right to pass any judgement on what someone does or doesn’t do after a trauma like that)

    This is about how BU’s judicial system in particular fails to protect survivors. People keep commenting questioning the legitimacy of a story like this, but false reporting of sexual assault is about the same as any other crime. Yet, the report of other heinous crimes is rarely questioned. People need to become educated on this topic before they try to blame every victim that comes forward.

    Clearly it is only one side of the story because she was kept at arms length for much of the deliberation process and is only privy to her point of view. As someone who has seen this happen here at BU time and time again I think it is crucial for men and women who are willing to share their experiences to do so, and for those people to be supported by the BU community.

  21. I want to thank the author for speaking up and coming forward, and the freep for supporting her and publishing this story. I also want to encourage everyone who is moved by this story to make change to go to the Center for Gender Sexuality and Activism, located in the basement of the GSU behind the terrier card office, at 7pm tomorrow 4/29 to have a discussion about this letter! please consider attending and inviting community members.

  22. Thank you so much for your letter and for your courage to stand up and report your case. It takes guts to tell and re-tell your story. When I was sexually assaulted in college, I didn’t tell anyone so I am proud of you for being the voice for others who do not.

    Now, make sure to take care of yourself. Seek the professional help you need to help you recover. I thought I was “tough enough” to handle it on my own. But I was wrong. You went through a traumatic event that will forever change you, but don’t let it define you. There are resources to help you in the area, check out https://www.rainn.org/get-help/national-sexual-assault-hotline if you need help. You aren’t alone.

  23. Sadly this problem and these acts occur outside of Greek Life and frats. Regardless, all students need to follow the rules and laws and need to remember they are not above the law and should be held responsible for their actions.

  24. From bostonmagazine.com:
    “The author of the post is someone who had known our opinion editor,” says Daily Free Press editor-in-chief Felicia Gans. “And she had been in touch with her a couple weeks ago and said, ‘I have this story to tell.’” Gans says the author supplied paperwork to corroborate her story, which was fact-checked by the FreeP staff before its publication.

    Thank you so much to the brave person who wrote this. It’s so difficult to continually face your worst memories by going through judicial processes/being a spokesperson. I hope commenters will bear that in mind, and will remember the author is speaking for all the cases that irrefutably happen, which are ignored by our administration.

  25. In a post-Rolling Stone world, the Freep should post the (redacted) documents and emails she talks about here in good journalistic practice. That being said, she does explain it in a thorough and educated way and this is an issue that needs to be discussed regardless.

  26. I’m cringing at every comment telling her she should’ve gone to the police. Easy to say from your arm chairs. It’s incredibly difficult to prosecute a “he-said, she-said” case, and the cops will tell you this upfront. It happened to my sister. Without a direct witness, you’re looking at years of court dates and a poor conviction rate. Point is, the administration could’ve and should’ve provided this girl swift justice.

    • If it’s so difficult for the police and the legal system to find the truth in these cases, how can we expect BU to be any different or better at it? What else should the school have done? They surely can’t expel the accused without any evidence.

      • The thing is, the BU administration TELLS victims to come to them for support and justice. If they can’t handle it, they shouldn’t. She could have gone to the police, but the above anonymous comment is correct in saying that it most likely wouldn’t have been any better. It makes me sad that this woman reached out to a community that promised to help should this ever happen (have you seen the BU bus ads?) and they completely failed her.

      • Because colleges are often in unique positions to be able to obtain evidence without warrants? Many have used emails from the school server and searches of dorm rooms to obtain evidence that would be very difficult for the police to obtain in a reasonable time period, if ever.

        Also, schools have to use the same burden of proof as CIVIL COURTS, so if they would just follow due process procedures, they theoretically should be an equal alternative focused particularly on the needs of students.

    • So the problem is that the police and judicial system follow that pesky “due process.”

      I sometimes wonder if we’re just looking for a work-around.

      There’s no argument that this man needs to be expelled from the University if he raped a woman. There is also no argument that he should face jail time. My only concern is with the point you raised yourself: in a “he-said, she-said” case, are we just supposed to forget about the whole “innocent until proven guilty” thing? Even if 99% of rape cases that men/women bring to court are legitimate (which I’m sure they typically are) we as a society can’t just toss that 1% of falsely accused men/women under the bus.

      This is basic stuff. There is no “swift justice” when multiple people’s lives are on the line.. At least according to this country’s Constitution.

      I’m always interested to hear the rationale explaining otherwise. But I hope I’m just misinterpreting your comment and many other similar comments on this thread.

      • I don’t think you are really understanding what a rape investigation looks like. Yes, the victim and perpetrator can tell opposing stories, but that doesn’t automatically mean that it can’t be relatively easy to figure out the truth. (This is why police work relies so heavily interrogations; many perps make admissions or confessions under scrutiny.) Often times it is quite easy to find out that someone is lying about part of their story by simply fact-checking it.

        Also, there’s a lot of other evidence that gets considered, besides testimonials. Investigators try to get emails, phone records, and social media records from all parties and friends. (Most school plan for this: they encourage students to use their .edu emails to that they can be accessed w/o subpoenas, and low level student services employees like those involved in residence life are encouraged to “friend” students as a way to gain access to these accounts when such situations arise.) They also will look for medical records from the victim to see if she accessed mental health or sexual health services after an assault, which many do instead of getting a rape kit.

  27. Another Survivor

    “A Survivor” said it right. In the moment, which for me was a month ago, also here at BU, everything is blank. Reading some of the messages hurts. You are thinking from such an outside perspective and not whatsoever about us-the victims. I am still hurting. A month later, I still am too afraid to look a man in the eye, never mind call one up to get a rape kit that night. When something like this happens where you are supposed to be safe, everything else in your mind goes blank. It is a dream like state where you can feel and think nothing. There is no right, or thoughts about persecution, there is just survival. Had I thought that a rape kit was in my future, there may not have been the survival. I can’t even think about it now, the amount of pain and trauma I am still experiencing after a month of healing. Think about it some more. Outside of these easy answers and solutions you are tossing out without even thinking about that night or that girl or guy. To those of you blaming it on frats, sororities or alcohol, ask me about how and where I was raped. It is real and it is everywhere. We can’t blame the alcohol. For me, there was none. For her, it was not the alcohol that changed her life. It was him. It was the guys whose life has a little mistake that he can move on from now while we are forever changed.

    Maybe once I can leave my room or look in the mirror again I can think about the police. For now, if you are looking for me, I will be alone, unsupported, in my BU dorm, with people telling me what I should have done.

  28. The Young Prophet

    This is beautifully written, and I hope you one day find piece of mind.

  29. The Boston Area Rape Crisis Center has a 24 hour hotline and (possibly free) counseling for survivors of assault. If you are sexually assaulted, a BARCC counselor will meet you at the hospital emergency room to help support you. See barcc.org

  30. “I did what I was supposed to do. I reported what happened to BU’s judicial committee”

    I fell for this woman, but no, this isn’t what you are supposed to do when you are a victim of a crime, especially a serious one. You go to the police. Not the BU Police, the Boston Police.

    • Said by someone who has clearly never actually reported a rape to the police, and is full of total delusions about what the process is like.

      Real life is not a rosy as an episode of SVU. No one helps you or comforts you when you report; there are no Olivia Bensons rushing to be on your side. You can consider yourself lucky if you even get a follow-up from a detective after you get a rape kit.

      Victims have turned toward their schools BECAUSE police have such a history of ignoring or mishandling reports.

      You need to spend some time educating yourself about the reality of reporting a rape before you go around making grand claims about what the right thing to do is.

  31. I am curious as to whether the Daily Free Press only saw documents from the author of this letter or if they saw documents provided by the accused as well.

  32. This article inspired me to come forth with my rape from many years ago. Thank you so much for having the courage to tell your story because now I have the courage to tell mine too.