The University of Virginia officials say that, pending completion of a sexual assault investigation, all fraternity activities are suspended. All frat activity will be suspended at least through January 9. Charlottesville police will be investigating a sexual assault that was reported to have occurred in 2012, in which a freshman student was assaulted and raped by seven men.
ABC reported Saturday evening that University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan was acting on the rape allegations, and that the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity had willingly severed its fraternity agreement with the University — it was in the Phi Kappa Psi frat house that the events are alleged to have taken place.
The investigation was set in motion, it seems, by a Rolling Stone article. The magazine told the story of Jackie (no last name given) and how she was gang-raped in her freshman year at the University of Virginia.
The story unfolded, telling how the young woman attended a party at a fraternity house, sneakily dumping out her drink because she didn’t like alcohol, and how what she thought was a tryst with her party date turned into a gang-rape, complete with physical and sexual assault, insults, and her passed-out body being left alone and bloody.
If the assault itself wasn’t enough, Jackie detailed the following weeks, with classmates chiding her for being ‘upset’ about the rape, and telling her she should’ve enjoyed it. They warned her that if she went to the hospital, she’d be known as ‘the girl who cried rape,’ and other students urged her to get on with her life as though nothing had happened.
Rolling Stone progressed from Jackie’s story into the broader tale of campus rape and sexual assault: it seems that the University of Virginia has a reputation among students, and that it’s even called ‘UVrApe.’ (Campus rape and sexual assault being swept under the rug is a notorious theme in the higher education world — it’s not just UVA.)
The Rolling Stone article was published Wednesday, and gained massive attention — with hundreds of thousands of social shares. Somewhere along the lines, it seems, the story made it to UVA officials, and something — a sense of responsibility, a fear of publicity, or a protective spirit — was awakened.
UVA officials are holding meetings to determine how to handle this case, and what to do about campus sexual assaults going forward. They’ve asked the police to investigate and they’ve moved to disband the frat that was involved, in addition to temporarily canceling all frat activities. If the University of Virginia’s sexual assault policy is improved by this incident, and publicity, perhaps other colleges can follow suit without needing such dire circumstances.
[photo credit: BobMical]