6 University Of Kansas Women Speak Out In Wake Of Assault
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Politics and Activism

6 University Of Kansas Women Speak Out In Wake Of Assault

With a dark history of mishandling cases of sexual assault, Kansas students ask: Is the administration even listening to us?

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6 University Of Kansas Women Speak Out In Wake Of Assault
Flickr - Brent Flanders

When will it end? Endless police reports, and not a speck of justice. KU's history of sexual assault has darkened our community. Countless young women and men at our college feel defenseless, voiceless and without justice. We collected the reflections of six KU women to the University on this matter.


The investigation of the alleged rape of a 16-year-old girl at the University of Kansas was recently brought to the public through articles from Lawrence Journal-World and The University Daily Kansan. The incident allegedly took place at McCarthy, an all-male hall and home to the KU men's basketball team, on the night of December 17th.

The assault was reported to police on the morning of December 18th, but information about the incident was not made public until yesterday.

"It is absolutely disgusting that a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted over a month ago on the KU campus, and we are only hearing about it now."

Drug paraphernalia and alcohol were distributed at the scene, and five men's basketball players are listed as witnesses to the incident from the police report at the University's Office of Public Safety: Frank Mason III, Mitch Lightfoot, Lagerald Vick, Tucker Vang and Josh Jackson.

Chief Keary has indicated that KU police have not forwarded the case to the district attorney, and has told media, “we believe there is no risk to the campus.”

"Please explain to me how there is 'no threat', Chief Keary, because I am now terrified that I am in a school that does not care about my wellbeing, and that if anything were to happen to me, no one would do anything."

The release of this information is disturbing to the KU Community. Our University has a dark past concerning sexual assault — our administration is under federal investigation for its handling of sexual assault on campus when Kappa Sigma was put on probation for an alleged assault in 2014, though it’s unclear if any individual member had ever faced consequences.

"Why do campuses continue giving immunity to rapists just because their D1 status brings in money? Does integrity mean nothing? Do morals and values mean nothing?"

KU rowing athlete, Daisy Tackett, also filed a police report against an assailant in 2013. In October 2016, two women reported being assaulted at Oliver Hall. Then there’s Sarah McClure, another KU rowing athlete who reported being raped by a KU football player.

"Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of sexual assault cases get swept under the rug, victims are forgotten and assaulters get off clean. College campuses are not doing enough."

Reflecting on the event at hand, and the history of assault on our campus, six women give their testimony below:


1. A junior student.

As a female rape victim, I am ashamed and terrified of my campus and the people who are supposed to be working to protect me. I am tired of college campuses trying to cover their own asses to save money and retention rates.

Chris Keary, who are you to say whether or not a campus is threatened? If Chief Keary were the father of the 16-year-old rape victim, maybe he’d see it differently.

KU has recently implemented a “sexual assault education” program, which students must complete before enrolling for classes. This program is online and takes approximately an hour to complete. It is ineffective, and serves as a weak excuse for the university to be able to point fingers and say “Hey, we’re trying.” I am disappointed in my university for not doing more to combat the very real threat of sexual assault.

I am petrified. I feel like my university cares more about its reputation than its students’ well beings. I should not have to be afraid to walk to class for fear of the rapist who lives across the street.


2. A journalism student.

The underlying tone of these reports and articles being published by Lawrence media is one of uninvolvement.

As a victim of sexual assault on this campus, I find the police statements to be alarming. Statistics point to college athletes and the issue of rape, but how many of them are actually prosecuted for their actions? How many of them are called out to the public for what they’ve done?

So, yes, Chief Keary, I believe we do have something to worry about.

We must start educating our students. None of that online interactive bullshit we’ve been given, but real-life examples and presentations with mandatory attendance. No more excuses. It’s time to make a change.


3. A psychology student.

The recent failure to immediately file a report on the alleged sexual assault that took place in McCarthy Hall is a prime example of college campuses protecting both their reputations and their student athletes.

While the suspect’s name has not been released, five of the witnesses are on the KU men’s basketball team. Regardless of whether or not the suspect is a basketball player, it is clear that KU administrators and the police department created special circumstances to protect those involved.


4. A freshman student.

Unfortunately, I am very close to a sexual assault victim, and it is a reality that will never go away. The victim will never be 100% better, and that makes me sick.

Each year, hundreds upon hundreds of sexual assault cases get swept under the rug, victims are forgotten and assaulters get off clean. College campuses are not doing enough.

It is absolutely disgusting that a 16-year-old girl was sexually assaulted, after being given alcohol and drugs, over a month ago on the KU campus, and we are only hearing about it now.

Why do campuses continue giving immunity to rapists just because their D1 status brings in money? Does integrity mean nothing? Do morals and values mean nothing?

Please explain to me how there is “no threat”, Chief Keary, because I am now terrified that I am in a school that does not care about my wellbeing, and that if anything were to happen to me, no one would do anything. Maybe, just maybe, you're the threat, Chief Keary.


5. A junior student.

If you honestly think that any woman is completely safe at the University of Kansas, you are an idiot.

I’m tired of seeing women suffer in silence because an institution would rather shut them up, rather than stand up and fight for what is morally right - justice and healing for the victim.

I’ve been a survivor of sexual assault, more than once, and I do not want more women to have to flinch when someone touches them.


6. An English student.

With the way things have been, I think it’s uncomfortably easy to feel like we’re in a fishbowl with sharks. Out in the open, unprotected by the institutions that should be supporting us unconditionally.

Each of us is more than this bullshit situation; we are more than prey. And, point blank, we deserve better. The thing is, we should never stop demanding it.

Over 3.16 million people stood up and protested at the Women’s March this weekend. We have 3.16 million people that believe we deserve better, 3.16 million fighting for the same justice we seek on our campus. It’s time for women around the world to stop feeling afraid of what may happen and of what justice may not be granted. It’s time for women to feel empowered and safe.

We deserve this.
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