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On Monday, University of Virginia student leaders chose to break the silence, and promised not to further tolerate sexual assaults on UVA’s campus, after Rolling Stones published an article about a 2012 campus gang rape.
Ashley Brown, lead of One Less – a sexual assault education group for campus rape victims – said in a news conference that UVA students and community should not miss the opportunity to say stop to sexual violence, and everyone should get involved since everyone had a part in ending the series of campus sexual assaults left unpunished.
Two days before the news conference, UVA President Teresa Sullivan suspended all fraternal organizations in the campus, due to an article published last week by Rolling Stone depicting how a female student (Jackie) was subdued to a three-hour gang rape by the members of a prestigious UVA fraternity two years ago.
The student said that she was a freshman when she was raped and that her rapists, members of the UVA fraternity Phi Kappa Psi, said the rape was a requirement to be admitted in the brotherhood.
Teresa Sullivan said that all UVA fraternities would be suspended until January 9, while the university’s administration would gather on Tuesday to discuss the above mentioned article and change UVA’s policies on sexual assaults. The UVA President has also asked the police to do a full investigation at Phi Kappa Psi headquarters.
Sullivan added that in the article there were details hidden from UVA’s staff board.
Visibly impressed by the article, Sullivan also urged change not only for UVA, but also for all US universities, so that incidents like the one described by Rolling Stones would never happen again, or if they did, justice to be done.
In reality, the 2012 incident was not the first rape on UVA campus. Former students and staff members say nobody ever talked about UVA rapes, because students saw them as accidents of their party life, while UVA leaders wanted to protect their reputation.
Daniel Carter a national expert on college safety said that UVA’s rape related problems were not unique, and that the situation was much worse in other campuses.
“UVA’s situation is likely the norm,”
It seems that one in five female students is sexually assaulted in US colleges, although about 12 % report it to police.
The US started a national investigation on 86 schools with past sexual assault records. UVA is among them. If found guilty, the university risks financial penalties, including the revoking of the federal funding.