On Monday, the anonymous Twitter account Raped at Spelman sent out a series of tweets alleging that she had been raped by four Morehouse College students. “This is my freshmen year at Spelman [College] and my last year because I decided to leave after what happened to me,” the user tweeted.
In a series of tweets that followed, the user, ostensibly a 18- or 19-year-old woman, alleged that she was raped near the campus of the historically black all women’s college in Atlanta, Georgia. She said that the perpetrators were four men who attended the nearby historically black all men’s college, Morehouse College. (In an arrangement typical of single-sex colleges, Spelman and Morehouse have a close relationship, both academically and socially.)
The anonymous user recounted attending an off-campus party with friends. “There were a lot of people there and it was really fun so we decided to drink with the upperclassmen,” she wrote. In a series of tweets, she recounted her attack in an upstairs bathroom, as well as her rape kit and report.
The user also alleges that Spelman mishandled her rape report and pressured her to ignore the attack. She wrote that during a meeting with an unidentified “Spelman Dean and Public Safety,” they “asked me what was I wearing, why did I separate from my friends, & why was I drinking under age. The Dean also said that Spelman & Morehouse are brother & sister so I should give them a pass.” She added that the conversation made her feel “worthless,” and led both to depression and self-harm. She wrote that Spelman is sending mixed messages to their students. The college, she said, “has taught me to be a free thinking woman,” yet simultaneously signaled that she should “keep her mouth closed to protect her ‘brothers.’”
Raped at Spelman’s tweets restarted a conversation about sexual violence that had publicly begun earlier this year. In January, Buzzfeed reported on the sexual assaults committed against Spelman women by men at Morehouse. In spring of 2013, three Morehouse basketball players were accused of raping a Spelman student. Buzzfeed’s report highlighted the complicated relationship between the two colleges, teasing out the often-conflicting cultures of the tightly linked schools.
Spelman’s administration, who was surprisingly tight-lipped in Buzzfeed’s story, said today that they would investigate Raped at Spelman’s allegations. The Atlanta-Journal Constitution reports that, in a statement, Spelman College President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell said, “Our hearts go out to this student and I want to personally offer her our full support and assistance.” Campbell added:
“We are a family at Spelman and we will not tolerate any episode of sexual violence. No student should ever have to suffer and endure the experience she has recounted on social media. Spelman is conducting a full and thorough review of these events.”
The school did not tell AJC whether or not there was a police or Title IX report that matched the student’s allegations. A spokeswoman for Morehouse told the paper that she “had no knowledge of this before today.”
Since Raped at Spelman’s series of tweets, students and faculty at both Spelman and Morehouse have expressed support for the anonymous user. In the hashtags #RapedByMorehouse and #RapedAtSpelman, alumnae of the women’s college called on both colleges to do more to address sexual violence. On Tuesday, May 3, Spelman students took their concerns to campus, demonstrating their commitment to changing the campus’ approach to sexual assault. Morehouse students also held a demonstration on their campus.
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