In 2010 it was reported by the Department of Justice that approximately one in every four female college students “will be victims of rape or attempted rape before they graduate within a four-year college period,” and that schools with more than 6,000 students “average one rape per day during the school year.” And according to New York University’s “National Statistics about Sexual Violence on College Campuses,” fewer than 5 percent of such cases are reported to law enforcement.
Then, there are cases like Landen Gambill’s. Landen is a sophomore at UNC who last spring reported being raped by a student she says is still on campus. Below, an email sent to Landen last week by the school’s graduate attorney general, originally published by Jezebel.com, reads in part:
You are being charged with the following Honor Code violation(s): I.C.1.c. – Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another (other than on the basis of protected classifications identified and addressed in the University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination) so as to adversely affect their academic pursuits, opportunities for University employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life.
If found guilty, Landen could be subject to a range of sanctions, including probation, suspension or even expulsion. Gambill recently told The Daily Tar Heel and a variety of other outlets about the experience of reporting her assault to the administration. From a December 5th, 2012 article she states,”They were not only offensive and inappropriate, but they were so victim-blaming. They made it seem like my assault was completely my fault.”
Now, as I try to control my fiery emotions I will preface my frustrations with this statement, I truly believe that justice will prevail and this student will be allowed to continue her education at UNC. However, the fact that this email was sent to her is just unbelievable nonsense! I understand that the male in question has not been found guilty of the claims made by the victim, but that does not mean she is to blame for his name getting out (which she never told to reporters), and if she is not harassing him personally, or having him harassed how can she be charged with an Honor Code violation? Gambill said that she attended a preliminary Honor Court meeting and asked whether she could have violated the Honor Code simply by saying she was raped; they board told her yes.
And they wonder why so few rape cases are reported, this is a prime example! Put yourself in the shoes of an honest victim (not saying this particular victim is being truthful), they have already made attempts to discredit her by commenting on her emotional state and her suicide attempt. But just think, a victim’s assailant can be one of her professors, a classmate, or any other person she may come in contact with regularly around campus, (in this particular case he lives across the street from her on campus) and instead of protecting its female student body UNC is isolating them. They are sending the message that they will protect a potential rapist before they would a potential victim. This is corruption at its finest hour! What are they expecting her to do, withdraw her statement? Would that not be considered obstruction of justice?? In my eyes they are simply a board, on a college campus, interfering with what I think should be a state investigation.
UNC may by trying to protect their reputation but most women will never view this college the same due to the decision they made. To most women, and I will take it upon myself to speak for most women, it seems as if they are enabling the rapist. Reliving the scenario in court once, is one thing, but to have to go to an Honor Court on claims that the male who sexually assaulted her has now been forced into a hostile environment because she made the decision to be strong, and come forward about being a victim is just absurd. If her claims are false, I will recant my statement and she deserves to be expelled because no one deserves to be accused of something they didn’t do. But if the man who assaulted her is found guilty, I hope she has enough money to sue the hell out of UNC.