Sexual assault on campuses in America continues to be a huge problem, with many schools working much harder at maintaining their reputation rather than addressing or trying to prevent rape. Stanford University is the latest to be accused of protecting a sexual predator.
According to The Guardian, a new lawsuit being levied against the school alleges that Stanford "ignored complaints about sexual assault, dismissed victims with disturbing allegations and failed to discipline a 'known predator' ... allowing the student to violently attack multiple women."
The details of the attacks are rather disturbing: the predator is accused of strangling at least one of the victims while telling her “no one will notice when you die” and of repeatedly telling another to kill herself after the attack.
The university (allegedly) had the details of numerous attacks but ignored them — offering only the lighest of punishments for the assailant — and even discouraged the students from reporting to authorities. For example, a counselor (allegedly) told a student reporting her assault that she was “wearing a sweater that exposed part of one shoulder and asked her to consider whether she placed herself in potentially risky situations because she wanted to appear sexually available."
“We have sympathy for the plaintiff in this case, but we will be vigorously defending the lawsuit as we believe that Stanford has acted with appropriate diligence and compassion,” a Stanford Spokesperson wrote, adding: “Stanford’s top priority is always the well-being and safety of all of our students.”
“The allegations in this case are really disturbing and show the importance of promptly and thoroughly investigating,” said Michele Landis Dauber, a Stanford law professor who has been outspoken about the university’s handling of sexual assault. “The key here is that we have to hold perpetrators accountable, and if we don’t, we’re really endangering campus safety.”
“Women will not have an equal opportunity to succeed academically until the epidemic of sexual violence on campus ends,” added Rebecca Peterson-Fisher, senior staff attorney with Equal Rights Advocates. “Institutions like Stanford need to be held accountable for their failure to recognize the severity of these crimes.”
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