The Sexist

When Rapists Graduate and Victims Drop Out

According to a a new report from the Center for Public Integrity, many U.S. colleges fail to adhere to federal laws that dictate the school's response after sexual assaults are reported on its campus. "Under Title IX, schools must meet three requirements if they find a sexual assault has occurred: end a so-called "hostile environment"; prevent its future occurrence; and restore victims’ lives," writes CPI reporter Kristen Lombardi.

In many cases, however, students found responsible for sexual assault through the college judicial process are administered little more than a slap on the wrist, leaving victims to continue pursuing their education in close proximity to their assailants—or drop out.

CPI's examination of sexual assault data found that, in colleges across the country, expulsion was a rare punishment for even the most serious of cases:

As much as 75 to 90 percent of total disciplinary actions doled out by schools that report statistics to the Justice Department’s Office on Violence Against Women amounted to minor sanctions, although it’s unclear from the data what the nature of the “sexual assault” offenses were. Among those modest sanctions: reprimands, counseling, suspensions, and community service. The most common sanctioning reflected what the data calls “other” restrictions—alcohol treatment, for example, or social probation. Interviews and records in these cases show that other minor penalties include orders that perpetrators write a letter of apology, or make a presentation to a campus advocacy group, or write a research paper on sexual violence. Administrators note that they sometimes issue multiple sanctions. For instance, they may require a no-contact order, a housing ban, and classes on sexual consent. By contrast, the database shows that colleges rarely expel culpable students in these cases—even though the Justice Department encourages its campus grant recipients to train judicial panels to hand down “appropriate sanctions, such as expulsion.”

For many victims, of course, receiving a letter of apology from their rapists does not help to restore their lives or alleviate the hostile environment caused by attending classes with, living close to, and running in social circles with their attackers. These minor punishments also fail to satisfy the third requirement of Title IX: Preventing the future occurrence of sexual assault.

Indiana University, which CPI notes has "expelled only one of 12 students found responsible for alleged sexual assaults in the past four years," explains that “our basic philosophy is not to expel.” Instead, the university offers what CPI characterizes as "teaching moments."

One IU student who was found responsible for "sexual assault (power differential)" was administered a short suspension during the university's summer term, a period when few students even stay on campus or enroll in classes. According to his victim, the student had seen her crying and drunk in the hallway, followed her into her dorm room, and forced sex on her as she passed in and out of consciousness. According to the CPI report, IU did not see this student as a threat to other women on campus. "The university will kick out a student believed to be a threat," CPI reports. But according to Indiana University officials, 'that does not mean that every single person found responsible for sexual assault gets expelled. They’re not all predators.'" The victim ended up dropping out of school.

CPI has uncovered several stories that follow that same narrative. A junior at Bowdoin College "reported being raped by a baseball player in her dorm after an alcohol-soaked party." The player, who was found responsible for the "charge of sexual assault," received a social suspension, but was still allowed to play attend home games; the victim transferred schools. A Penn State student reported being raped by a classmate in an off-campus apartment. Her assailant, who was found responsible for "nonconsensual oral sex" and "nonconsensual intercourse," had his degree delayed for one year; the victim dropped out and transferred, but not before swallowing "'a big handful' of sleeping pills."

Universities that don't choose to expel rapists from campus operate under the assumption that these students won't assault again. Research has disproved that assumption:

But critics say that attitude fails to recognize a disturbing reality about campus rape: Many incidents go beyond “miscommunication” among two drunk students—a common characterization among school officials—to predatory acts. Lisak, the U-Mass professor, has studied what he terms “undetected rapists” on college campuses. His research suggests that over half of student rapists are likely repeat offenders who rape an average of six times. Yet administrators, Lisak observes, “think of serial rapists as the guy who wears a ski mask and jumps out of the bushes.”

“Schools that overlook this paradigm are failing their female students,” charges Bruno, of the Victim Rights Law Center, referring to Lisak’s research. “Giving someone a deferred suspension is like giving someone carte blanche to do it again.”

After the Indiana University victim the judicial process, she received an e-mail from another woman who also lived in the IU dorms. The same student who had cornered her while drunk and crying, the woman wrote, "has come into my room on two occasions and forced himself upon me." In an appeal, the IU victim forwarded the woman's ominously similar claims on to officials. According to CPI, "Indiana University officials did not factor her claims into sanctioning."

  • LeftSidePositive

    Prove to me that I was referring to women who were forcibly held down against their objections.

    Again, I never said ANYTHING about "against their objections." This is your twisted, victim-blaming, self-entitled, and TOTALLY INACCURATE definition of rape. (It's also a cheap strawman argument to claim I'm lying.)

    I said against her WILL, not OBJECTIONS. Will is a state of mind, like I said before, and these women answered that they were made to have sex when they didn't want to, the very definition of "against their will."

    I do acknowledge that some women get off on being held down; sometimes they even verbally request it.

    May I remind you that you specifically referred to women who were "still trying to decide if they enjoyed it." SOME women may like to be held down, but this is in no way relevant to those who DID NOT verbally request it, and reported that they had sex WHEN THEY DIDN'T WANT TO.

    You will be exposed for the liar you are.

    No, you have been exposed as a pathetic weasel and hypocrite.

  • LeftSidePositive

    Ergo, John Dias is a total fucking shithead.

    Q.E.D.

  • raf

    that's pathetic

  • LeftSidePositive

    raf, I'm choosing to believe you're referring to John Dias's disgusting attitudes & misinformation.

  • Melissa

    LeftSidePositive, you're freakin' awesome. :)

  • LeftSidePositive

    Thanks, Melissa!!

  • John Dias

    LSP: I didn't want to have to call you out on your lying, because it was irritating for me to do so. But I chose to do it even though I didn't want to. I didn't consent!

  • LeftSidePositive

    John Dias--I showed very, very conclusively that I was right and you are totally, absolutely, ridiculously wrong. You failed to prove any "lie" at all--in fact, you REITERATED exactly the same loathsome attitudes that I attributed to you.

    I can see that you have absolutely no case to defend yourself or your appalling, misinformed, and misogynistic attitudes and so you're reduced to incredibly lame (and insulting) analogies about rape.

    Choosing to do something is in fact consent, unless no viable alternatives are open to you (i.e. duress/coercion). This is simply not the case on an internet forum, which you read voluntarily and may close at any time.

    Furthermore, this isn't even the first time you've tried to equate the demonstration of your intellectual inadequacy with rape victims' horrific experiences. As I said the first time I saw you try to make this "argument":

    Blogs with comment sections are open forums to freely express opinions. Women’s bodies are not open vessels to freely have sex with. --Stroll in the Jungle, post #338

    Let's point out yet again that I have destroyed you and your hateful and absurd mindset on every single debate we've held. So much for your illustrious "facts, logic, and reason"!!!

  • John Dias

    "I was right and you are totally, absolutely, ridiculously wrong."

    "...you have absolutely no case to defend yourself or your appalling, misinformed, and misogynistic attitudes..."

    "...your intellectual inadequacy..."

    "...I have destroyed you..."

    Are you okay? Seriously, I don't mean that pejoratively. You "strike" me as a particularly emotionally unbalanced, angry, frustrated and hateful personality. Your obsession with dominance-seeking and your frequent use of emotional aggression (against me, anyway) make me think that you're projecting the worst of your own abusive attitudes onto others. I'm not belittling you or your arguments when I simply state that I think that you could use some sort of professional therapy or spiritual guidance, from whoever you trust to provide it. You simply don't seem like an emotionally healthy person to me.

  • LeftSidePositive

    John Dias: we had a debate. You lost. If you hadn't lost, you would still have something constructive to say about the facts I presented to you, and my deconstruction of the fallacies in your argument. Instead, you are now reduced to whining about confident and empowered women, as you do each and EVERY time I point out all the holes in your positions.

    And, yes, I'm apparently emotionally unbalanced. It's sooooo unreasonable to be angry at someone who belittles rape victim's experiences, who thinks someone being forced into sex is "still trying to decide if she enjoyed it," and who makes arrogant and indefensible statements like "the alleged victim should bear responsibility for expressing her non-consent."

    Oh, I forgot...I'm a woman, and therefore I'm not allowed to be angry at you. Also, any competitive nature or assertiveness absolutely shows that my feminine psyche is deeply troubled, because heaven forfend I should enjoy success!! Clearly, I need "spiritual guidance" because there must be something wrong with me to care passionately about equality and human rights.

    In the course of arguing with you, I have chosen to be fairly aggressive in my language. This is a conscious decision because you are absolutely beyond the pale in the hatefulness of your attitudes and in the willful obtuseness of the claims you make (especially after they have been debunked multiple times; see above). This isn't "emotional aggression"--it's standing up for oneself and one's rights (which, news flash, women have too!!). Go back to the "Stroll in the Jungle" thread, and you can see a pretty clear escalation of my rhetoric, because your appalling statements warrant it, and it is quite appropriate to be forceful in one's language to make a point that needs to be made.

  • John Dias

    "John Dias: we had a debate. You lost. If you hadn’t lost, you would still have something constructive to say about the facts I presented to you, and my deconstruction of the fallacies in your argument."

    You don't declare yourself the winner of a debate if you truly are the "winner." Speaking of winning, who wins if we simply have differing values? Did you change my opinion? Anyone's opinion? If so, to what degree?

    I am not responding because you can't behave yourself in a debate. Being a woman does not entitle you to be abusive, and if your positions were really as merited as you think they are, you shouldn't need to become emotionally aggressive at all.

    When you calm down, I'll engage. But I won't encourage your abusiveness.

  • LeftSidePositive

    It's not a difference of opinion. Your opinions are repulsive and deny people's human rights. I'm certainly not going to pretend that's within the spectrum of reasonable debate. Your beliefs are hurtful and hateful, and I am sure as hell not going to tiptoe around that point.

    My points are well-substantiated and clearly presented. That's "behaving myself in a debate" a hell of a lot more than your non-sequiturs, willfully obtuse "arguments," and endless repetition of easily-debunked fallacies. And, like I told raf, this is a blog where salty language is used regularly. Acting "shocked" about it just shows you're whining since you can't think of anything else to defend your positions, because your positions are wrong, disgusting, and misinformed, as I have comprehensively demonstrated above.

  • Jess

    Ha, John Dias is pathetic. "Calm down" and "behave yourself?" Because you provided conclusive evidence for you assertions? Honestly I might have a little more respect if he just owned his misogyny. This whining about how he can't talk to you because you're being "emotionally aggressive" (what does that even mean?) somehow makes him look worse than saying "Yeah, I do think rape is the victim's fault, what of it?"

  • John Dias

    @Jess: Please see post #81 in this thread.

  • LeftSidePositive

    John Dias--Ooooh, post #81, really?! Is there a post #81 where you say something coherent, reasonable, and accurate? Because on my computer post #81 is a whole lot of total nonsense that I easily shredded in posts #91-#99...

    Absolutely NONE of your claims in post #81 stood up to any scrutiny whatsoever.

  • Pingback: links for 2010-04-21 « Embololalia

...