Rape victim ‘told by her Christian college that trying to have her alleged attacker punished was harassment’
- Victim says alleged attacker wasn’t adequately punished for sexual assault
- Claims Hanover College pressured her into not pressing criminal charges
- Made repeat attempts to have alleged rape by ex-boyfriend taken seriously
- Says she then suffered two years of harassment when case was dismissed
- Now her ex and his new girlfriend are claiming they are being harassed
- Indiana-based college agrees, saying calls for punishment are harassment
By JOHN HALL
PUBLISHED: 05:03 EST, 28 January 2014 | UPDATED: 06:14 EST, 28 January 2014
A female student who was allegedly raped by her former boyfriend has claimed her Christian college has accused her of ‘harassment’ after she filed a complaint against him.
The student, identified only by her first name Samantha, says she now faces possible expulsion from Hanover College in Indiana for repeatedly calling for punishment over the alleged sexual assault, which she says took place in March 2012 while staying at her former boyfriend’s fraternity house.
Following a complaint from Samantha, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights has reportedly informed the small college of 1,100 students that it has been placed under investigation.
Two years of correspondence between Samantha and the college reportedly showed she had been told to take her complaint of sexual assault and ongoing harassment to the police and at one point had been asked to move off campus.
This is despite a U.S federal gender equality law requiring colleges to make every effort to prevent and intervene in all incidents of harassment that have been brought to their attention.
She says it was during this period that her former boyfriend sexually assaulted her after he had been drinking heavily.
Samantha says it was roughly one month before she felt comfortable enough to report the sexual assault, adding that she had requested to speak to a female security officer.
She claims, however, that a male security officer pressured her into reporting it to him instead and refused to let her leave the room until she signed a written agreement not to press criminal charges.
A later hearing at the college found Samantha’s former boyfriend not guilty of the alleged sexual assault after he claimed not to have been in the building at the time, and concluded that the male security officer had simply been ‘anxious to help’.
Over the following two years, Samantha says her former boyfriend’s new girlfriend repeatedly harassed her as she fought to have the case against him reopened.
The Office for Civil Rights initially worked with Samantha and reached a mediation agreement last summer to allow her to file a claim of harassment against her alleged attacker and his new girlfriend.
When that case was dismissed last November, the college then allowed the couple to claim that it was in fact them who were being subjected to harassment, claiming Samantha’s repeat attempts to have sexual assault charges filed against her former boyfriend breached their rights.
The college was quoted by the Huffington Post as saying that it concluded that the attempts to have alleged attacker punished ‘whether through campus security, the campus conduct review process, his fraternity, the court system, or the Department of Education, do appear to be a type of harassment’.
They reportedly added that Samantha would face no punishment however, as the form of harassment they were accusing her of isn’t covered by the school code of conduct.
The Office for Civil Rights is now investigating whether the college failed in its duty to stop harasment against Samantha after it had been reported, and whether or not it had permitted retaliation against a sexual assault victim when allowing the alleged attacker and his girlfriend permission to file their own harassment claim.
A spokesman for Hanover insisted the college takes all reports of sexual misconduct seriously and insisted it would fully cooperate with the Department for Education’s investigation.
In the meantime, 38 students have reportedly signed a letter in support of Samantha warning they will withhold donations and discourage people from attending Hanover until the case is resolved and the college overhauls its policies on sexual assault.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2547272/Rape-victim-told-Christian-college-trying-alleged-attacker-punished-harassment.html#ixzz2rhAnFqqF
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