Campus Rape : Victim Blaming  

One in five women is sexually assaulted in college, but only about 12 percent report the sexual assault to police. Earlier this year, the Obama administration announced  Title IX investigations of 86 schools suspected of denying students their equal right to education by inadequately handling sexual-violence complaints; if found in violation, each school runs the risk of financial penalties, including having its federal funding revoked.  To understand why so few rapes are not reported to police, we must first examine the underlying societal problem : victim-blaming is the corollary of denial prevalent in the rape culture at our colleges and universities.

Laura Dunn of the advocacy group SurvJustice explains, “Schools are assigning people to victims who are pretending, or even thinking, they’re on the victim’s side, when they’re actually discouraging and silencing them.” The same tactic is used by some religious institutions who funnel victims to so-called “victim assistance” coordinators.

In other words, victims are not believed but instead blamed.  Institutions are more concerned with protecting themselves from scandal and keeping tuition and federal monies coming in than preventing sexual violence at universities and colleges. Protecting the institution at the cost of the victim as we have seen in the Catholic church and Penn State scandals in a endemic problem. Would such institutions be responsive to victims if they also risked losing from adherents and alumni?

We must continue to expose the truth about rape culture and empower our young people to speak out for themselves and others.
The Law Office of Tahira Khan Merritt exclusively represents victims of sexual abuse and sexual assault. We stand ready to help you with your legal needs. If you were sexually assaulted or sexually abused, our law firm can help explain your legal remedies.  For almost twenty years, we have represented victims of sex crimes in civil cases against institutions, including colleges and universities, religious organizations, such as the Catholic church, Baptist church, Greek Orthodox church, Episcopal Church, and Presbyterian church among others. We have also represented victims of rape in schools,  youth sports organizations,  youth camps, daycares, scouting and the like. You may confidentially contact our office at 214-503-7300 or through our website :

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