Lately, women, who attend Spelman College, a historically Black women’s college, have opened up about their experiences of being sexually assaulted on social media. Reading about this story hits home to me because I am a college student and I have experienced unwanted attention from onlookers. However, I have never been raped by any man on campus though. Nonetheless, sexual assault will continue to be apart of the conversations that young women have when talking about going away to college.
Incidents of young women being raped on college campuses has received national attention in the media. More than 150,000 college students from twenty universities around the nation participated in the study. A recent statistic showed that 23% of women in college have experienced unwanted sexual contact. Nearly 11% of it is unwanted penetration and oral sex. National Statistics show that one in five women will be subjected to either partial or completed rape in their lifetime. Most female rape victims experience rape before their twenty fifth birthday and nearly half before their eighteenth birthday. 17.7 million women in the United States have experienced half or completed rape. 13.3% of college women have been forced into unwanted sexual situations without their consent. Worst of all, the majority of female rape victims know the perpetrator of the attack on their bodies.
There has been incidents of women being sexually assaulted at Spelman College. An unidentified woman made a Twitter account called ”Raped At Spelman” to speak out about her experience of being raped by four men from Morehouse college, another historically Black college. Reading the tweets was heartbreaking and mind boggling to me because no young woman would expect that she will experience rape and sexual assault on a college campus.
Here are the screenshots of the tweets from ”Raped At Spelman”:
It is unfortunate that many young women go through such an experience. It is worse when societal expectations force women to just ”deal with it” or refuse to believe them if they speak out against their abuse. These societal expectations along with the ongoing patriarchy in the Black collective forced the victim to use an anonymous name on a social media account to talk about her experience instead of showing her face. Many victims of sexual assault are often times blamed for their own abuse or forced into silence. However such shaming tactics contribute to the problem of rape culture in our society.
As of May 5th, Spelman president, Mary Schimdt Campbell told Atlanta Journal Constitution that Spelman is investigating these allegations. Here is what she said in an excerpt from Atlant Journal Constitution:
”“I know that members of our Spelman community join me in expressing heartbreak and outrage over the incidents and experiences recounted on Twitter. Because theTwitter account is anonymous, I tweeted an invitation to @RapedAtSpelman to reach out to me personally so I, and the College, can provide full assistance and support,” read Campbell’s statement. “We continue to follow leads to identify the victim to offer our help and services.” ”
Morehouse president, John Wilson also expressed discontent with allegations that four men from Morehouse sexually assaulted a young woman. It was disheartening to hear since both Spelman and Morehouse are historically Black colleges, that are oftentimes closely aligned with one another. Worst of all, the student in question, who posted these anonymous tweets, filed a police report yet it took a month for the dean to contact her about the case. In an attempt to downplay the trauma she experienced, the dean asked her what type of attire she was wearing that night she was raped. She was told to ”give them a pass” since Spelman and Morehouse are ”brother and sister”. Protecting and defending another person’s reputation over the wronged party always ends in reprisal and condoning wrongdoing.
Often times, Black female victims of sexual assault are silenced and overlooked. The statistics regarding Black women and sexual assault are abyssal to say the least. 60% of Black girls have experienced sexual assault by their eighteenth birthday. 40% of Black girls report sexual assault before they are eighteen. For every African American girl that was raped, fifteen of them don’t report their rape. Unfortunately, sexual violence and abuse is rampant in the Black collective. Many Black girls tell stories of their uncles or male acquaintances touching and raping them as children. But these girls’ admissions of sexual abuse is often overlooked because they were conditioned to be loyal to the Black male and the Black collective. These girls fear ”turning their backs” on Black males and the Black collective by reporting their abuse to the police because the same police is the one that racially profile and patrol their communities. Also Black girls are oftentimes blamed for their own abuse and called ”fast tail” girls. Plus many people believe that protecting the Black male and his image is more important than protecting Black girls from sexual predators. Thus the reasoning why many Black girls fear turning in their abusers to the police and the lack of reprisal from the Black collective against sexual predators.
Ultimately, Spelman and Morehouse are finding ways to better deal with cases of sexual assault. The whole scenario about the young woman, that was raped by four men who attend Morehouse College is still under investigation. However, the issue of sexual deviancy and rape inflicted on women and children can’t be solved without having discussions about it. And finding ways to avoid such situations from happening. Hence every woman deserves her privacy and space to be respected and upheld in society.
Links to the page: