When a female college student at Hanover College in Indiana reported that her boyfriend had raped her, the college responded to the student with a charge of its own: to sue her boyfriend regarding this matter is a form of harassment.
Hanover University is a small Catholic University of approximately 1,000 students. The college is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church.
This is an ongoing case that dates back to fall of 2011, when the student, Samantha, complained of her current roommate situation. The college reportedly gave her a mere day’s notice to move out of her dorm room, and made no arrangements for her to live in a new room. With few options in such a short amount of time, Samantha decided to move in with her boyfriend, who lived in a fraternity house.
It was there that, after a night of heavy drinking, Samantha says he sexually assaulted her.
A month later, when Samantha felt prepared to report the attack, she was denied her request to speak to a female officer. Instead and directly against her wishes, she was directed to a male security officer.
Samantha reports that the officer “told her she could not leave the room until she signed a statement agreeing not to press criminal charges.”
A college investigation in December of 2011 found the ex-boyfriend not guilty of the attack.
But for Samantha, the horror wasn’t over. In the following months, her ex-boyfriend, his new girlfriend, and their friends allegedly continued tormenting and harassing Samantha. She claims that in March of 2012, he came into her dorm late at night, and proceeded to abuse her physically and verbally.
She reported it to the college the next morning, and offered to provide photos of the bruises he had inflicted. The ex-boyfriend, however, said that he had not been in her room that night, and the school reportedly responded that the photos would not “be necessary.”
Over the course of the next several months, school administrators allegedly told Samantha to drop the case, and that she “should not look to the school to intervene in the harassment she kept reporting.” The school reportedly even went so far as to threaten to expel her.
In early 2013, Samantha took the case to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights (OCR). While the OCR negotiated a mediation, the school brought official harassment charges against Samantha. It was only last week that she received notice that an investigation into the case was begun.
School alumni have spoken out on Samantha’s behalf, expressing disgust the college’s failure to address and remedy the situation. “Retaliations against victims should not be tolerated,” they wrote in a letter to Hanover College, in which they also warned that they would withhold donations.
Alumni, students, and faculty alike now await the outcome of the OCR’s investigation. Samantha, for her part, is determined to graduate with her degree, regardless of how unhappy she is at the school.
Sources: Huffington Post, Daily Mail
Photo Source: Huffington Post