Student almost kicked out of school for speaking out about her rape
In the umpteenth example of colleges having no idea what they're doing, the University of North Carolina is now under fire after a sophomore at the school said she's being punished for daring to speak publicly about her rape--which happened on campus!
Landen Gambill, along with several other students and the former UNC assistant dean of students, filed a complaint with the U.S. Department of Education last month, after university officials allegedly pressured administrators into underreporting dozens of sexual assault cases. Now, Gambill says the school is threatening her with disciplinary measures (including expulsion!) because she spoke to the press about the assault, which they say is "intimidating" her rapist.
For editorial purposes, I'm censoring my immediate reaction to this, but just know it goes something like this: "BLEEP. ARE YOU BLEEPING KIDDING ME? BLEEPING IDIOTS."
And can you blame me? This is beyond infuriating.
Gambill recently told a number of media outlets that her experience reporting the assault to the university's Honor Court was incredibly traumatic. When she informed the administration that the sexual and verbal abuse came from the hands of her long-term boyfriend, she says she was asked why she didn't just break up with him. After relating that when she did end the relationship, she was met with stalking, threats, and more harassment, Gambill states the court attempted to use her history of clinical depression and a suicide attempt against her--which she says only stemmed as a result of her abusive relationship.
"They were not only offensive and inappropriate, but they were so victim-blaming," she told the school's newspaper The Daily Tar Heel."They made it seem like my assault was completely my fault."
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Last Friday, she was notified saying she was being charged with the Honor Code of "disrupting or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages or otherwise interferes with another," which in this case, refers to her ex-boyfriend and rapist. How did she do that, considering she had never publicly named the assaulter? Gambill said that she asked the court if she violated the Honor Code simply by saying she was raped and the answer was yes.
So not only is the school, which is supposed to educate, help, and guide students, actively squashing reports of sexual assault, it's also going out of its way to punish those who dare to speak up about it? That's truly disgusting. I don't understand how administrators can sit idly by and ignore these incidents (which are clearly a problem on this campus) and then threaten the victims, all to save their own reputation. Plus, to throw her past history of depression in her face, as if that puts her at fault? Un-freaking-believable.
Until these investigations can be handled appropriately by trained, caring professionals (something which is becoming close to impossible to find at any university), I think it's time that students start taking any such cases to the police and the real court system. From Gambill's story, it's clear this so-called Honor Court is made up a bunch of heartless people who aren't worthy of judging anything.
Image via Thinkstock
What do you think of Landel's story?