Vanderbilt University rape case serves as an example

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Ally Daskalopoulos, Columnist

 

What would you do if you saw an unconscious girl being carried down the hall of a dorm on a typical Friday night? Would you call and get help? Or would you pretend you didn’t see anything?  It may seem like an irrelevant question or a hypothetical scenario. But it isn’t.

On Tuesday, Jan. 27, 2015, the verdict was announced in the Vanderbilt University rape trial. For those of you who aren’t familiar with the case, it goes something like this.

On June 23, 2013 a young female college student at Vanderbilt University went out to the bars with some friends. After passing out, she doesn’t remember a single thing that happened. She woke up the next morning in an unfamiliar room and an unfamiliar bed.

It turns out she had been carried into a dorm room, thrown on the floor, raped and sexually assaulted by four football players for 30 minutes. They had taken cellphone videos, pictures and sent texts, and every bit of it would become incriminating evidence.

The trial that took place over the last twelve days, determined the fate of Vanderbilt football players Brandon Vandenberg and Cory Batey. Vandenberg was the instigator. He recorded video and took pictures of Batey and two other players raping and assaulting the victim, as well as handing out condoms and encouraging the horrific behavior.

Even though he may not have engaged in the sexual behavior, he was still held accountable and found guilty on nine counts. Cory Batey participated in the actual sexual conduct, left a mark on the victim, and urinated on her. He was also found guilty on all charges against him.

While all the defendants were highly intoxicated, this does not excuse the actions that occurred that evening. These young men face years ahead in prison. They were expelled from school, and have disrespected the name of prestigious Vanderbilt University. Two other former football players are awaiting a court date, and have yet to have their fate determined. The entire instance is shocking, but the worst is yet to come.

What makes this case unique is the way it was discovered, and the false reality that the unnamed victim must now cope with. With no recollection of what happened, there’s no way she could have reported this crime. Yet there are people who are blaming her.  Security in the dorm noticed significant damage done to a door in the building. Drunken behavior can result in damages, so security decided to take a look at surveillance tapes from the night before. That is when they saw the victim being carried into room 213.

After contacting the victim, she didn’t believe that Vandenberg would ever harm her in any way, and continued to perceive him as her knight in shining armor. The sad reality is, he was everything but a hero. Her life will never be the same.

We’ve all seen the signs everywhere, saying, “Consent is sexy. We’ve heard RA’s, faculty, administration and even online courses stressing the importance of sexual safety and the dangers of alcohol.

If we aren’t cautious and responsible, an instance like this could easily happen here. If anything close to this had happened on our campus, it would ruin lives, damage the futures of our students and tarnish the name of Illinois Wesleyan.

There seems to be a fine line between crime and joking around nowadays, but that needs to stop. If we allow this behavior to continue who knows how safe college campuses will be when our children attend.

We are constantly annoyed with the reminders and claim we know our limits, we know the severities of the consequences of our actions and we know what can happen.

You know the facts, you know the consequences and now you see what can happen – lives can be torn apart. Please fellow students, think before you act.  Act when you see something wrong. Make the right decision.