COMPILED BY CLAIRE PARKER, CO-EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
A gang-rape allegedly committed in 2012 by fraternity members at the Phi Kappa Psi house at the University of Virginia was investigated and exposed in a Rolling Stone article Tuesday. The article made waves across the country, as readers responded viscerally to the brutal assault it described, other young women stepped forward with their own rape allegations, and UVA temporarily suspended all fraternity activity. Wilson students had a lot to say about the article and the issues it raised as well:
Emma Keyes, grade 12:
Reading the Rolling Stone article about rape at UVA was horrifying and sickening, but not as surprising as I wish it had been. First and foremost, I hope everyone interviewed in the article is safe in general, as well as from any potential reactions from their classmates and the UVA administration. Second, I wish that UVA was an exception to the rape culture that permeates most, if not all, college campuses in the US, and the country at large, but it’s not. So it’s all well and good to express outrage and disbelief at the culture that supports and upholds sexual assault at UVA, but they are far from the only school that perpetuates rape culture. The federal government is investigating at least 76 colleges and universities for Title IX infringements in their handling of sexual assault cases. Our culture in general, not just UVA, is the problem. Changing one school isn’t enough to fix this societal epidemic. We have to change everything.
Patrick Mulderig, grade 10:
When I first read the article, I had already heard about issues of college rape and about this story specifically, but I still could not imagine all of these things happening. All of it is almost too crazy to be true, from the way that the University of Virginia handled all of the sexual assault claims, to the way that the man the article dubbed “Drew” treated Jackie upon seeing her again after raping her. My first reaction was just shock. How could there be so many terrible people in the world, let alone in one university? The worst part was how Jackie was treated by her peers because she didn’t want to be the “girl that cried rape.” The whole thing was shocking and unbelievably sad.
Anabel Forte-Fast, grade 10:
I find the UVA gang rape case to be majorly disturbing. I’ve been taught my mother that I should feel comfortable in my own skin. All women should feel that they shouldn’t have to dress or act a certain way for protection; we all deserve the right to feel confident and safe enough to walk around the streets and not have to worry about getting hurt.
Luke Thomas-Canfield, grade 12:
This horrific gang rape at the University of Virginia makes burning down the entire establishment, with special considerations for the disgusting fraternity neighborhood called Rugby Road, a vindication for the blood and tears of many young women. With more and more of these types of date rape cases being reported and yet ignored, banning fraternities outright is the only way to create a safe social environment for college students. These “storied and prestigious establishments” are exclusive, elitist organizations that merely serve to create a country club on campus. As a result of this entitlement, arrogant, wealthy young men are able to get away with doing whatever their privileged minds desire. Whether it be living in lavish mansions, playing elaborate and sometimes dangerous practical jokes, or taking away the most unalienable and sacred right of others – the ability to control one’s body. The only way to halt this aristocratic oppression on campus is to force every public university to suspend all non-professional Greek life, or risk losing the entirety of their federal funding.
Zach Essig, grade 11:
One in five women get sexually assaulted at college. One in five. I truly am at a loss of words of how sad, disgusted, and just plain livid this makes me feel. Not only is the act of rape disgusting in itself, but the culture surrounding it is even more repulsive. Friends, family, and anyone with a good head on their shoulders needs to stand in support of rape victims, instead of shunning them, calling them attention seekers, or what’s worse, saying that it was their fault they were raped. Honestly, the information presented in the article makes me terrified for every single girl I know. Women should not have to go to college scared that they are going to be sexually assaulted one night. When you just look at the news, you see numerous reports of rape and other sexual assaults, just like the ones that occurred at UVA. My question to this is: When is this villainy going to stop?
Claire Parker, grade 12:
As I read the Rolling Stone article about a brutal gang-rape at UVA, I felt sick to my stomach. The description of the rape alone was enough to induce disgust, horror, and nausea. But what brought me close to tears were the responses of UVA students and administrators to the incident. In what kind of community are a rape victim’s ‘friends’ are more concerned about social climbing than helping a victim of arguably the worst crime possible? What world do we live in where those in power are more concerned with preserving their image than being compassionate human beings who actually take care of the people entrusted to their safe-keeping? As Wilson’s senior class prepares to go to college next year, I hope that none of us ever experience such despicable assaults and indifference to suffering. But I know, and am terrified by the knowledge, that that hope is naive, and some of us will. UVA is not unique. Throughout the country, one in five women will be victims of completed or attempted sexual assault while in college. Campus rape is a pervasive, systemic problem that demands widespread cultural change. Suspending fraternities at UVA is a step in the right direction, but it is not even close to enough. I hope that this widespread change will come — that one day, young women will feel safe on their college campuses and rest completely certain that should something go wrong, justice will prevail. In the meantime, as we go out into the world, we need to have the decency and compassion to help heal victims of trauma, rather than turning away in indifference, and to fight for justice wherever it is missing.
Lauren ReVeal, grade 12:
Hopefully, the general feeling surrounding the gang rape at UVA was complete and utter disgust. And it was made even worse by the fact that these obscene violent acts occur all over the country. Though there is more than one takeaway from this story, what I found particularly upsetting was the actions of Jackie’s friends. By convincing her not to get help, they lost their chance for any justice. There is little chance for the men who assaulted Jackie to be proven guilty at this point. My take away was this: If a friend gets raped, assaulted, attacked, or feels violated in any way, call the police and get to a doctor right away. If they are unsure of what to do, that should be your suggestion. However, always stick by what they want to do, and support them all the way.
Read more of the Beacon’s coverage on sexual assault
GRAPHIC BY JARRAH MAY