How Dickinson College Failed A Survivor

Sexual assault is defined as a range of forced and unwanted sexual activity. Unfortunately, sexual assault is extremely common on college campuses and, according to RAINN, "11.2 percent of all students experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation (among all graduate and undergraduate students)."

Recently, a Dickinson College student by the name of Rose McAvoy published an article in the college's newspaper about her sexual assault and how poorly the college handled it. In the article, McAvoy recalls when her assault took place and just what happened to her in the months and year following.

McAvoy says she was assaulted by someone she knew in a classroom on campus. No drugs or alcohol were involved. After the assault, she reported it to the college and opened a Title IX investigation. The investigation, which prior Department of Education guidelines stated should be completed in 60 days, took 209 days.

209 days.

In those days, McAvoy withdrew from everything in her college life because she couldn't feel safe. She stopped eating and sleeping. She became a depressed shell of a woman because she wasn't being helped or taken seriously. All of this while the person she named as her attacker was able to walk freely around campus without a care in the world.

At the end of those 209 days, that person was given a semester's probation.

An assault did not go on his record.

A slap on the wrist for an assault that changed the life of an innocent young woman forever.

In the midst of all of this, Dickinson College violated its own protocol and did not report the assault in its annual report that year, which violates the Clery Act.

Despite a no-contact order between McAvoy and her attacker, he was allowed to return to campus. Following her attacker being found guilty by the college, the no-contact order set in place by the administration was revoked.

In addition to their absolutely garbage way of reviewing and handling the investigation, McAvoy was just treated horribly by the administration in regard to the assault. She was denied access to the investigation reports and essentially told to buck up and move on when it was all over.

The treatment that McAvoy received is sadly not uncommon for victims of sexual assault on college campuses.

Colleges and universities treat these men and women as if they are a burden for wanting justice and peace of mind. All while protecting the attackers and allowing them to move on to other institutions and hurt more men and women that they encounter.

These institutions have policies and protocol but what good does it do if no one in the administration is going to follow it? Attackers are still going to be on the loose and innocent men and women are going to continue to have their lives flipped upside down with no hope of protection or justice from the very institution they should be able to think of as their home.

It is time to change these backward and lazy Title IX policies. It is time to have mandatory protocols. It is time to train faculty and staff on how to handle these situations and stop placing the blame on the victims.

Time's up.

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