BYU Will No Longer Investigate Sexual Assault Survivors

Sexual assault happens every two minutes in the United States.

Nearly one in four women and one in thirty-three men will experience sexual assault in their lifetime.

It is very possible that someone you know has been sexually assaulted.

Not only is it alarming, frustrating, and depressing, those numbers don't accurately portray how deep the issue goes because sexual assault is still widely underreported.

Victim-blaming is all too prevalent when it comes to how society and law enforcement deal with sexual assault.

Those who report their experiences often are asked, “what were you wearing?”, “how much were you drinking?”, “how were you behaving?” and all sorts of other questions irrelevant to the fact that someone actively made the choice to violate them and should be held responsible.

Earlier this year, Brigham Young University(BYU) students alleging that they had been sexually assaulted came forward and shared how the university handled their reports which are not only victim-blaming but victim-punishing.

BYU responded to these allegations by forming a panel to evaluate their Honor Code Office and its conflicts with their Title IX Office.

Recently, the university announced five of the 23 recommendations that will be implemented effective this fall semester.

In an email to students, faculty, and staff, President Kevin Worthen said:

"Our top priority is the safety and well-being for our students. It is true in particular for those who have been victims of sexual assault. They have been through a devastating experience, and they are looking for our help and support. We have an obligation not only to provide that support, both emotional and spiritual, but also to create an environment where sexual assault is eliminated."

Now students who witness or report being sexually assaulted will no longer face the possibility of punishment of honor code violations such as drinking or premarital sex.

Although, these changes mark a victory for victims, survivors, and advocates, as Mary Koss, a public health professor has said, "to truly make a difference, the school will need to involve the whole campus."

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