Well, this is horrific. In fact, it could be triggering, since it deals with sexual assault, so consider yourself warned. A lawsuit filed this week by a Baylor University graduate alleges that 31 members of the college football team committed 52 sexual assaults. Unfortunately, this is just the latest report of campus sexual assault to cross our paths. In fact, reports like this are now so prevalent, there’s even an app called Callisto to report campus sexual assault. But the huge numbers cited in the Baylor only reflect incidents involving the college football team at that school. Which leads us to wonder: How many people knew what was going on and allowed it to happen?
The sexual assault “scandal” surrounding Baylor’s college football team is well documented. In May 2016, Sports Illustrated put together a timeline of the events and allegations which led to football coach Art Briles’ termination. Then in October, the Wall Street Journal reported that, according to Baylor regents, 19 players had been reported for assaults since 2011. But the new lawsuit, which was brought by a grad under the pseudonym Elizabeth Doe, indicates an even farther-reaching epidemic.
It’s On Us
As we continue the fight against rape culture, campuses need our support more than ever. President Obama and Vice President Biden launched the It’s On Us campaign in 2014, in response to the prevalence of campus sexual assault. Since then, over 250,000 college students pledged their support for the cause. The It’s On Us campaign was also in the news after the Stanford Rape Case, when Biden wrote an open letter in response to Emily Doe’s powerful victim impact statement. The letter, as published by Buzzfeed, stated:
What resources are available today?
Every campus has a responsibility to protect its students. Under the 2013 Campus Save Act, schools must provide “extensive ‘primary prevention and awareness programs’ regarding sexual misconduct and related offenses.” In many cases, sexual assault awareness movements can also help.
Watching the newest Baylor case unfold will be difficult, but we need to stand together. We stand with Elizabeth Doe.