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The Daily Wildcat

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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Column: School policies need exemptions for victims of sexual assault

    Roughly two weeks ago, students at Brigham Young University protested the school’s treatment of sexual assault survivors after a female student was raped by a much older man in her off-campus apartment during a date, and upon going to the police — who later went to the school to report the incident — was summoned to a disciplinary hearing for violating the school’s “Honor Code.”

    Seriously?

    BYU is located in Provo, Utah, and is owned and operated by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I personally don’t believe in any deity and I have no qualms with those that do, but this Mormon institution should not be reprimanding this woman after she was raped.

    The university’s Honor Code doesn’t allow students to have consumed alcohol or to have a member of the opposite sex in a bedroom. Essentially, this young woman is being punished for bringing a man home.

    I understand the rule, since Mormons don’t consume alcohol and view sex outside of marriage as a sin, but the woman was raped. The assault is being overshadowed by an antiquated policy.

    The rape is far worse than any other rule she may have broken, religiously derived or not. By enforcing the rule in this situation, BYU administrators are making it clear they care more about uptight policies than the well-being and safety of their students.

    When all is said and done, the young woman will still have to live with the assault for the rest of her life. Any woman who has been a survivor of sexual assault at this school, or any school that holds a similar policy, should be exempt from the policy completely — no questions asked.

    This young woman’s university should be doing everything in its power to support her. But instead of support, all she got from her school was the stress of feeling and wondering if she would be punished or even get the boot from the school.

    Sadly, we live in a rape culture and terrible instances like this occur all too frequently. Many women don’t come forward after an assault because of the issues and pressures unfairly placed on them. Any survivor of sexual assault should feel comfortable reporting the incident and be given complete support after doing so.

    BYU’s potential punishment is only making this young woman’s situation worse. Schools should have their own policies in place, but there need to be exceptions, and this one is a no-brainer.

    Punishing the young woman only dissuades future survivors from coming forward after being assaulted. School disciplinary policies shouldn’t be a part of deciding whether to come forward after being raped.

    It shouldn’t take a petition and protests from students to drop this case. It’s a matter of human decency. Someone has been hurt — she shouldn’t have to worry about being punished after what happened.

    Mormon, Christian, Catholic, it really doesn’t matter. There is no debate to be had — we need to do everything we can to support anyone who was raped.


    Follow Daniel Geffre on Twitter.


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