December 9, 2023

A different kind of war to wage


This archived article was written by: Rodrigo Leon

It happens fast; one moment you are out with friends and the next you are on the floor being assaulted by someone. This is the reality for far too many women on college campuses. The movie “The Hunting Ground” is a documentary exposing not only the systemic rape of women on college campuses, but also the lack of support from the institutions meant to protect.
The movie told the stories of women who had been raped while at college. These stories, along rape statistics, sent a powerful message about the problem existing on college campuses. This is a problem not unique to one college; this happens all over the nation. It has become an epidemic with at least 16 percent of women getting raped at college, and these are only cases that have been reported either to the police or other advocates. This is a startling statistic, which means many of the women you see walk around campus could have or will have been sexually assaulted by the time they graduate. To make things worse, the schools revictimize these women by not only harassing them, but allowing these women’s rapist to return.
These schools don’t want the rape reports because then they will be known as an unsafe school. That means they will lose applicants, and thus money. The universities will defend their reputation. They are a business before a university, and so they care about a bottom-line. If women get attacked, the investigation costs money and the reputation of rape hurts the schools applicant rate. If they keep reports low, they can avoid costly investigations, but also maintain their reputation. This is at its worst when it comes to athletes, because they are backed by a multi-billion dollar business. On one hand, they have a star football player who rakes in money for the school and a woman who just attends school.
Athletes in college are hard to touch because they make money for the school. A good example of this injustice is Erica Kinsman’s story. In Tallahassee, Fla., Dec. 7, 2012, Kinsman was unwinding at a bar after finals when someone approached her. He then offered to buy her a drink. She took the shot and was quickly woozy. She was flashing in and out of consciousness.
When Kinsman awoke, she was lying on a bedroom floor being raped by the man who approached her at the bar. The man took her to the bathroom where he continued to rape her. Then he drove her back to her dorm. She not only reported it, but went to the hospital to get not only checked, but also get a rape kit done. The rape kit recovered semen off her body. Even though she reported this to Florida State University, they took no action. She came back from winter break and learned the name of her attacker; Jameis Winston, the all-star quarterback for FSU.
FSU did nothing and allowed the students to belittle her and bully her, telling her that she was, “an attention whore” or worse. Yet FSU and the police did anything. With the evidence she had with the rape kit and bruises, they could’ve gotten surveillance footage from the bar, interrogated Winston or his roommates, or at least test him to see if his DNA matched the rape kit. None of that happened. After ten months of waiting, the allegations against Winston became public. After, her bullying got worse because not only FSU, but the whole nation, was against her. It got so bad she had to move out of Tallahassee.
This is the kind of abuse these colleges perform. The worst part is universities turn a blind eye to these offenses. We don’t hold these institutions accountable. We do make ourselves aware of how these things happen. It is up to students to force a change, because as long as universities are making money and no one is getting punished for these crimes, the universities will not change.