LETTER TO THE EDITOR: ‘Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good’
With my two best friends and I going to college, one of us will be raped.
This is simple statistics. One in three women enrolled in college will be sexually assaulted, according to statistics on the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network website. Rape runs rampant, plague-like across the nation, affecting Ivy Leagues to state schools. It all was troubling. Then it was Ellie Johnson.
She caught my eye the way things like cute puppy videos, or the updates about Kesha’s legal battles normally do — Twitter. Johnson stated the following on June 25, “I was raped and @IUBloomington said to my rapist “Yes, what you did to her was okay.” I had a preponderance of evidence and the panelists established I was drunk. What about your policy “drunk consent is not consent?” More so, they violated Title IX multiple times with me.”
I was shaken and continued to be as more women came forward with stories of mishandled sexual assault cases at the dirtied hand of Indiana University, the school that I had, until that moment, been excited to attend.
Here was a school that claimed #ItsOnUs, who tried to shed light on the issue of sexual assault, but fell short by letting a rapist walk –not uncommon.
In the case of Johnson, she maintains that she was drunk, and Indiana University’s policy on consent states that consent cannot be given when incapacitated. There are seven bullet points for establishing incapacitation by alcohol, and according to Johnson, the panelists established her drunkenness, along with eyewitness accounts. It was a “he said, she said” that led to a predator walking around Bloomington free, brushing elbows with countless women, and possibly, with me.
I can’t pretend that this is a new phenomenon. The case of Brock Turner, that Stanford swimmer, who got six months for truly the perfect sexual assault to prosecute, destroyed hope in so many survivors. Now, we live in a world of #MeToo and #TimesUp. Ellie thought the world could be better. But now she’s a hashtag.
The question is, what is the fight against? I maintain that it is against the hypocrisy of institutions who insist in flyers in bathroom stalls and empty Title IX, yet have failed their students of all genders. This is best described by actor Terry Crews as he spoke before the Senate in support of the Sexual Assault Survivors’ Bill of Rights.
Crews stated, “What are you going to do about this predator roaming your hallways? I was told, ‘We are going to do everything in our power. We are going to handle this, Terry” Then they disappeared. Nothing Happened.”
This is devastating to each and every victim. Yes, it is daunting to stand in the face of a well-known, powerful institution like Indiana University. But Ellie is brave, and she sure is standing up. So I’m standing with her. She doesn’t want justice for herself, but for every victim that will come after her. No more hollow condemnation without punishment. Indiana University — how will you make my time in Bloomington safe? What will you do if I am the one in three?
In the words of journalist Phillip Gourevitch, “Denouncing evil is a far cry from doing good.”
— Kiah Myers, Fort Wayne