The feds are currently investigating alleged failures by the University of Southern California officials and campus police to prosecute rape — including one student who was told that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm. Yep.
Thirteen students, along with several other unnamed students, claim they suffered from "extensive failures on the part of USC administrators and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) in responding to reports of sexual violence on campus". The U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights (OCR) launched the inquiry on June 26 as part of response to the Title IX complaint filed in May. Several other colleges are currently under similar investigation.
It appears the issue of inaction on sexual assault claims runs deep — here's a list of things complainants are claiming they were told by USC officials and campus police:
- [USC student Tucker] Reed, the lead complainant, said USC dismissed her claim that her ex-boyfriend had raped her, despite her providing audio recordings of him admitting to it. At one point, Reed said, a USC official told her the goal was to offer an "educative" process, not to "punish" the assailant.
- When a student went to the DPS to report a sexual assault at a frat, an officer told her and a friend, also a sexual assault survivor who had accompanied her, that women should not "go out, get drunk and expect not to get raped."
- A DPS detective told one student that the campus police determined that no rape occurred in her case because her alleged assailant did not orgasm.
Well, that last one is just science. And biology. And a special kind of dumb.
While it's exciting that these investigations are garnering wide exposure and people are finally paying attention to the issue of rape on campus, it'll be interesting to see how these investigations pan out. Here's hoping real results come in the form of university administrations and campus police who cares about the safety of all students. It's the very least these brave survivors and activists deserve.
Photo via Flickr