The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

The Student News Site of Drake University

The Times-Delphic

    Staying silent, feeling alone

    photo illustration by SARAH ANDREWS

    A Drake University first-year female student re­ported that she was sexu­ally assaulted early Sunday morning, according to a Des Moines police report.

    Although the police report did not indicate which residence hall the sexual assault took place, sources told “The Times-Delphic” that it occurred in the Goodwin-Kirk Residence Hall Complex. Drake officials, however, will not confirm this information.

    Des Moines police met with the 18-year-old assault victim at 6:50 a.m. Sunday morning at Mercy Med­ical Center. The victim declined to answer questions, only providing her name and birth date. A sexual assault kit was collected and picked up.

    Dean of Students Sentwali Bakari said that he would not comment ex­tensively on the incident, as it might compromise the privacy of the al­leged victim and perpetrator.

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    “I am consulting and working with Des Moines police, Drake Secu­rity and the Student Life staff to try to investigate this as best as we can without putting names out there to make it more difficult for some of the people that may be involved in this,” he said. “We’re not sitting on this—we’re looking into it.”

    Both Drake Security and Bakari notified President David Maxwell before 9 a.m. Sunday morning about the reported sexual assault. Maxwell said that the victim was made aware of all of the resources the university provides to sexual assault victims, but said he would not comment further out of respect for the victim’s privacy.

    This reported sexual assault comes just a week before the first meeting of the Task Force on Sexual Assault and Coercion—a group that Provost Michael Renner has created to tackle this issue. The task force, which in­cludes several students and faculty members, will have its first meeting next Wednesday. Maxwell is expected to open the session, designating a charge and organizational tasks for the group.

    Maxwell said that the group is op­erating under the basic assumptions that incidents of sexual assault and coercion take place at Drake and that they are underreported. He also said that the university makes consider­able efforts to educate students about these issues through Welcome Week­end and programming in residence halls, Greek life and athletics.

    “The issue is that this is a systemic issue that derives from a number of factors, including the social infra­structure,” he said. “It has to do with student cultural norms and percep­tions about social status and accep­tance.”

    Maxwell said that he expects a report by May 1 with proposed solu­tions and recommendations that ad­dress the broader systemic issues that he referred to earlier that he and his cabinet would tackle.

    “The university has an obligation to do whatever we can to educate stu­dents about these issues, to do what­ever we can to create an environment that minimizes the likelihood that it will happen and, when they do, pro­vide the appropriate and necessary support to victims and the appropri­ate and necessary response to per­petrators,” he said. “But the issue is broader than education.”

    He said that these issues cannot be solely on the shoulders of the admin­istration; rather, that the community has an obligation to play a role in the solutions.

    “Ultimately, whatever efforts we make, it will only be successful if stu­dents take ownership and responsibil­ity for the fact that this is an issue, and ownership and responsibility for find­ing the solutions, and ownership and responsibility for the implementation of the solutions,” he said.

    Amanda Krafft, a senior English and philosophy double-major, is one of the students who will sit on the task force. She said she will speak openly and in brutal honesty during the meet­ings, hoping the committee will produce real solutions.

    “There are things here that are re­ally important that people are not really considering, and that’s mainly the safety of students physically, mentally, socially and emotionally,” she said. “According to statistics that I’ve looked up, Drake is really, really low on the reporting end.”

    Krafft says that according to the National Institute of Justice, three per­cent of college women are raped on an average campus each school year, which equates to nearly 57 undergradu­ate women at Drake. Considering the amount of reported sexual assaults has not even reached double-digits in the last two years, Krafft said that people should be concerned with unreported sexual assaults.

    “It doesn’t bother me that people don’t report it because I can understand not reporting a rape,” she said. “What bothers me is that because it’s not re­ported, people think it doesn’t happen, and it does.”

    Hans Hanson, director of Drake Se­curity, said that his main concern stems from surveys that indicate a large num­ber of sexual assaults remain unreport­ed. Some years zero cases are reported to security, but he said he knows that more occur.

    “Drake is like universities of our size, maybe even lower,” he said. “But in private universities, we’re about in the same area of assaults that actu­ally get reported to the security depart­ment.”

    Hanson and Maxwell said the issue of unreported sexual assaults is one of the main charges for the task force.

    A Drake student, who wished to remain anonymous, said that she was sexually assaulted last year and decided not to go to the police.

    After a night of drinking with friends, she overestimated her tolerance and became intoxicated. Around 2 a.m., she went to a male student’s room and they started kissing.

    “Eventually we went to the bed and took our clothes off,” she said. “I just wanted to make out. He then started trying to have sex with me. I kept saying, ‘No. I don’t want to have sex. Stop.’”

    The male student refused to listen to the victim as she eventually started to lose consciousness.

    “I tried to stay awake, but the al­cohol had affected me too much,” she said. “The last thing I remember was pushing his hips away from me, but he was a strong guy. And for as much as I tried to push him away, I was definitely not strong enough—he didn’t get any farther from me at all; he only got closer. I then blacked out and woke up in the morning. I still have no idea if he had sex with me or not. From the looks of it, it is likely he did. But I never asked.”

    She took the Plan B pill the next morning and said she hasn’t talked to the male student since the incident. She said the event left her feeling disgusted and ashamed for putting herself in that situation.

    “I didn’t want to tell anyone because they would think I was a slut,” she said. “I had not wanted to have sex. I still think it was my fault for being in that setting. I’m mad that I got so drunk and I’m mad that he didn’t listen.”

    She said she thinks that unreported sexual assaults happen often and that it’s scary for any victim to let others know it took place.

    “It’s so easy for date rape to hap­pen,” she said. “The girl gets too drunk and the guy goes too far. I didn’t report anything, so I bet this kind of thing is much more common than people think.”

    Laurie Linhart, professor of sociolo­gy, said that performing a sexual assault kit at the hospital the next morning can be a humiliating experience for wom­en—one of the reasons she said women might be reluctant to report an assault.

    “Their bodies have been invaded once and to go through the process of the sexual assault investigation is re­ally an invasive process again,” she said. “It’s almost like their victimized twice.”

    Linhart said that another reason that women might not report a sexual assault is because they want to forget about the experience as soon as pos­sible.

    “If they do report it, it continues to be front-and-center in their minds,” she said.

    Planned Parenthood, she said, pro­vides an environment that is more comfortable for the victim to undergo a sexual assault kit, likening it to a private, home-like setting. Linhart said that the new task force should look into the re­sources they have to offer.

    Linhart also said that women some­times feel that they are at fault for lead­ing the perpetrator on before the sexual assault took place.

    “‘No’ should mean no,” she said. “Alcohol may be involved and the lines can get really blurry, and I think women have always felt like they’ve done some­thing wrong.”

    Bakari said that he agrees that it is important that victims come forward and that the university becomes a place where victims feel comfortable to con­fide in authority figures after they’ve been assaulted.

    “One of the challenges for the task force is to create an environment, as best as we possibly can, that those who are sexually assaulted to feel comfort­able in coming forward so that they don’t feel it’s a second form of victim­ization by coming forward,” he said. “They shouldn’t feel ashamed; they don’t feel the peer pressure and they don’t feel that alcohol was involved and that they’re in trouble. We have to talk that out.”

    View Comments (8)
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    • D

      DeFeb 6, 2010 at 7:35 am

      Matt,

      I don’t know if this task force can come up with a solution in 3 months. This issue is more prevalent than I can ever remember in my years so far at Drake. Which, in a way, is a good thing. Victims are more willing to come forward. Whatever the solution is, it shouldn’t just focus on what potential victims should or shouldn’t do. It needs to be an all-encompassing solution.

      Maybe there needs to be more of the security light things. Maybe there needs to be an ID scanner before by all of the doors on all of the floors of the dorms so that people can be tracked. There should probably also be stricter enforcement of visitor sign in. The guest must leave a valid ID and sign in with a valid room number and a valid resident.

      I also think that the Health Center should have something on the weekends. Maybe an on-call number that students can call in this situation and they can be met at the Health Center for the appropriate care. This would also make scheduling any counseling needed easier

      Perhaps punishments for sexual assault should be more severe and more publicized. Because who really reads all of the student handbook?

      And as much as this may go against freedom of the press and free speech, maybe the TD needs to stop making breaking news of it every single time. Yes, students will find out through the grapevine, but I don’t think the stories in the TD make the victims feel any more comfortable about things.

      Bottom line is that victims need to feel more comfortable coming forward. They need to know that they’re going to have support every step of the way instead of feeling like they’re not going to be taken seriously or ashamed or embarrassed.

      Reply
    • D

      DeFeb 6, 2010 at 1:35 pm

      Matt,

      I don’t know if this task force can come up with a solution in 3 months. This issue is more prevalent than I can ever remember in my years so far at Drake. Which, in a way, is a good thing. Victims are more willing to come forward. Whatever the solution is, it shouldn’t just focus on what potential victims should or shouldn’t do. It needs to be an all-encompassing solution.

      Maybe there needs to be more of the security light things. Maybe there needs to be an ID scanner before by all of the doors on all of the floors of the dorms so that people can be tracked. There should probably also be stricter enforcement of visitor sign in. The guest must leave a valid ID and sign in with a valid room number and a valid resident.

      I also think that the Health Center should have something on the weekends. Maybe an on-call number that students can call in this situation and they can be met at the Health Center for the appropriate care. This would also make scheduling any counseling needed easier

      Perhaps punishments for sexual assault should be more severe and more publicized. Because who really reads all of the student handbook?

      And as much as this may go against freedom of the press and free speech, maybe the TD needs to stop making breaking news of it every single time. Yes, students will find out through the grapevine, but I don’t think the stories in the TD make the victims feel any more comfortable about things.

      Bottom line is that victims need to feel more comfortable coming forward. They need to know that they’re going to have support every step of the way instead of feeling like they’re not going to be taken seriously or ashamed or embarrassed.

      Reply
    • A

      AnonymousFeb 4, 2010 at 4:29 pm

      Why doesn’t Drake deal with these types of situations in a serious manner? Everyone on campus knows to read the security reports for a good laugh. I don’t think these types of situations are funny….at all!

      January 28 3:11 a.m.
      Security responded to Jewett Residence Hall based on a report of an unconscious female. It was determined that an underage for drinking male student and a 21 year old female student had entered Jewett Residence Hall. According to the roommate of the male, both students entered the room and enjoyed each other’s company for awhile. They then left as the underage male needed to go to the bathroom to relieve his stomach of the alcohol. According to witnesses the female went to another male’s room with her pants down and sat on his desk. She then pulled up her pants and left the room. She went to another male’s room and walked up to his bed and began touching him in an exciting manner. She was intoxicated as was her male companion who had brought her to Jewett from a bar located in the 3000 block of Forest Avenue. The female was given a ride back to her residence in the 1300 block of 34th street

      Reply
    • A

      AnonymousFeb 4, 2010 at 10:29 pm

      Why doesn’t Drake deal with these types of situations in a serious manner? Everyone on campus knows to read the security reports for a good laugh. I don’t think these types of situations are funny….at all!

      January 28 3:11 a.m.
      Security responded to Jewett Residence Hall based on a report of an unconscious female. It was determined that an underage for drinking male student and a 21 year old female student had entered Jewett Residence Hall. According to the roommate of the male, both students entered the room and enjoyed each other’s company for awhile. They then left as the underage male needed to go to the bathroom to relieve his stomach of the alcohol. According to witnesses the female went to another male’s room with her pants down and sat on his desk. She then pulled up her pants and left the room. She went to another male’s room and walked up to his bed and began touching him in an exciting manner. She was intoxicated as was her male companion who had brought her to Jewett from a bar located in the 3000 block of Forest Avenue. The female was given a ride back to her residence in the 1300 block of 34th street

      Reply
    • M

      Matt VasilogambrosFeb 4, 2010 at 8:46 am

      Readers:

      Keeping in mind that the task force must come up with a proposal by May 1, how do you change the environment at Drake University so that 1) we decrease the amount of sexual assaults and 2) women who are sexually assaulted feel it’s OK to report the crime to the authorities?

      Or, is three months too short to come up with real solutions? What are those solutions?

      Please be respectful in the debates.

      Thank you.

      Reply
    • M

      Matt VasilogambrosFeb 4, 2010 at 2:46 pm

      Readers:

      Keeping in mind that the task force must come up with a proposal by May 1, how do you change the environment at Drake University so that 1) we decrease the amount of sexual assaults and 2) women who are sexually assaulted feel it’s OK to report the crime to the authorities?

      Or, is three months too short to come up with real solutions? What are those solutions?

      Please be respectful in the debates.

      Thank you.

      Reply
    • J

      Jim LoweryFeb 4, 2010 at 7:03 am

      Can you imagine reading this article and knowing your daughter lives in GK? Society tells parents that you are prudish to not expect sex between students (your kids) before marriage. Religious leaders even seem immune to speaking out against the scriptural guidelines. Knowledgable, articulate adults are embarassed to try and talk openly about this issue. Students think they are immune from reality when they place themselves in situations that set the stage for such assults. It amazaing that universities can teach a person how to be a good pharmacist or effective leader, yet the same effective teachings evade the subject of self protection. Makes a parent sleepless and fearful of a late-night telehone call! The excuse is that this is a sign of our time. I believe it is because we do not have the guts to care enough about each other to provide and protect those loved ones even when they may not understand that protection. People may be able to buy guys at a certain age, but that does not mean we provide guns in each dorm room to protect ourselves from each other. Wow!

      Reply
    • J

      Jim LoweryFeb 4, 2010 at 1:03 pm

      Can you imagine reading this article and knowing your daughter lives in GK? Society tells parents that you are prudish to not expect sex between students (your kids) before marriage. Religious leaders even seem immune to speaking out against the scriptural guidelines. Knowledgable, articulate adults are embarassed to try and talk openly about this issue. Students think they are immune from reality when they place themselves in situations that set the stage for such assults. It amazaing that universities can teach a person how to be a good pharmacist or effective leader, yet the same effective teachings evade the subject of self protection. Makes a parent sleepless and fearful of a late-night telehone call! The excuse is that this is a sign of our time. I believe it is because we do not have the guts to care enough about each other to provide and protect those loved ones even when they may not understand that protection. People may be able to buy guys at a certain age, but that does not mean we provide guns in each dorm room to protect ourselves from each other. Wow!

      Reply