The University of Virginia's story about Jackie being gang raped on campus while attending a fraternity party is sadly not an isolated incident. The Rolling Stone piece encouraged multiple women to come forward and say they too have been sexually assaulted at a college in the United States. These crimes happen more often than parents would like to know.
When you send your kids off to college, especially if they are girls, you warn them about safety. Not to walk alone, choose friendships wisely, and the dreaded R word.
Sexual assault is still a taboo topic at colleges and fraternity houses, though for different reasons. A university reputation can be tarnished when an accuser comes forward about a rape on campus, so schools seem to turn a blind eye to the report.
By the same token, the process of reporting a sexual assault is difficult for women, who often prefer to disappear into obscurity rather than go through the humiliating steps they are forced to go through to bring their attacker(s) to justice.
The powerful story of Jackie is sadly not uncommon, and has sparked outrage on campus and social media. The worst part for parents thinking about sending their daughters to the University of Virginia, or any other school in the United States, is that rape stats are not easy to find.
"Because nobody wants to send their daughter to the rape school," according to what Dean Nicole Eramo, head of UVA's Sexual Misconduct Board, allegedly told Jackie when she sat down to tell her what happened at the frat house.
As sobering as Jackie's story was, there are dozens of other comments left by readers who were directly affected by the story from reporter Sabrina Rubin Erdely. The magazine has been flooded with statements from readers such as Mo, who just this morning says that, as the member of a sorority in her freshman year, she put herself at incredible risk by hanging out at fraternities.
But Mo has a serious problems with the "friends" portrayed in Jackie's story, who seemingly didn't do much to help her. "Some friends!" she says, and insists that if it was her, she would immediately report the rape to police and her friends would stand by her. Of course, in hindsight, things are always different.
This particular woman says that fraternity houses per se are not the problem, but the individuals who are part of them.
"It's not the Greek community, it's completely awful individuals. This isn't brotherhood, it's a crime."
Mo adds she and her friends avoided such fraternities, which made them less popular, and they instead chose those who followed high moral standards.
Other commenters blame university administration and their lax attitudes towards crime in general and rape on campus in particular for the widespread assaults. One reader implores Jackie to go through with her accusations to "save other Jackies" from the same fate.
Yet another reader suggests the Department of Justice should remove jurisdiction from universities, and should allow any student to report a rape or any other assault directly to police.
Jackie's story of her brutal gang rape on campus when she was just a freshman has stirred a debate in which everyone has an opinion, one way or another. At the center of the controversy is the University of Virginia, which has suspended all fraternities until January, a measure that is seemingly harsh. However, if you think twice, you will realize that not much is going on between now an the end of the year, with exams and Christmas break looming. Is it just a slap on the wrist?
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