Earlier this week, Cecilia Carreras, a student at the University of Richmond, published an essay on the Huffington Post contributor’s network in which she detailed her sexual assault and the university’s response. In the post, “There’s a Brock Turner in All of o(UR) Lives,” Carreras alleges that she was raped by in an off-campus house by an athlete. Richmond, she alleges, responded by protecting her rapist and accuses university administration of joining, “ranks of schools known for protecting their athletes.”
Referring to her rapist as “Richmond’s Brock Turner,” Carreras wrote:
[He] admitted to school officials, three separate times, that he heard me say stop. Those officials later told a hearing board they thought he was confused when he told them that. No one denied, however, that he penetrated me without my consent. But for Richmond, their Brock Turner having an orgasm was of utmost importance. I was told that it was reasonable for him to penetrate me for a few more minutes if he was going to finish. The University of Richmond and Brock Turner’s father seemed to agree- why let a few minutes of “action” jeopardize the rest of the accused’s life?
Carreras notes that her rapist was later put on suspended access to the school, meaning that he was still allowed to attend athletic events. But Carreras alleges that the response was tepid at best and did little to ensure her safety on campus.
Carreras’ story is, by now, a very sadly familiar one. Between the public sharing of victim impact statements and a sizable number of essays like this one shared online or in fragmented tweets, the narrative is well-known: woman accuses classmate of rape, a confusing and bureaucratic investigation ensues, and generally little to nothing happens. In the worst cases, the university makes a public statement against the victim (see, for example, Florida State University), accusing her of either misleading the public or lying about the facts. The University of Richmond decided on Wednesday that accusing Carreras of lying was the best course of action. In a campus-wide email, the university wrote:
[the] assertions of fact are inaccurate and do not reflect the manner in which reports of sexual misconduct have been investigated and adjudicated at the university.
Citing privacy laws, Richmond did not indicate which of Carreras facts were “inaccurate,” but said they were “deeply saddened” by her essay.
On Thursday, Carreras responded with another post headlined, “Richmond, all I wanted was for you to say sorry. But instead you called me a liar. So, here are the receipts,” also published in the Huffington Post. In the post, Carreras provides screenshots of emails between her and Richmond dean, Daniel Fabian, as well as transcripts from a preliminary Title IX hearing in which Fabian acknowledges that the alleged rapist changed his story multiple times.
“No one denied, however, that [my rapist] penetrated me without consent,” Carreras wrote. Rather, she alleges that Fabian argued that the length of the assault was justified because he, “thought it was reasonable for [the accused] to penetrate you for a few more minutes if he was going to finish.”
In the Thursday essay, Carreras included a screenshot of text messages from her alleged rapist that were sent to her after Richmond sent a no-contact order. She alleges that the university did not discipline him after he violated the order and suggests that the university’s athletic department interfered in the investigation. Ultimately, the man Carreras accused faced no disciplinary action and, according to the Carreras’ post, Fabian declined to move forward with a full Title IX investigation because of alleged pressure from the athletic department.
The University of Richmond has not responded to Carreras’ follow-up but the Richmond Times-Dispatch notes that many students and alumni have come out in support of her.
“All I’ve ever wanted from Richmond was an apology,” Carreras wrote in her Thursday post, “It’s clear I will never receive one.”