Sarah Tedesco, a sophomore at Emerson College, was told by college administrators that she “shouldn’t be making a big deal with it,” with regards to her rape. IT IS BIG DEAL, AH! The school also pressured her into avoiding pressing criminal charges on her rapist with the police and instead going through the university to seek justice. The university, of course, believed her rapist to be innocent after a horrifically mishandled investigation that took place THREE MONTHS LATER.
Even, *I* know that a rape kit (thanks Law and Order: SVU) and investigation has to happen immediately after the rape occurs. You’re not allowed to shower after you’ve been raped because evidence can so easily be wiped away. So naturally school officials took three months to investigate the rape and during this time Tedesco’s rapist was living in the same residence hall as her. Can you imagine living in the same building as your rapist? Well, it’s not unimaginable since college students deal with this kind of thing all too often.
During this time Tedesco had begun to receive anonymous threats, while the college administrators did nothing to help or protect her. She was then sexually assaulted a second time by her rapist.
“When I brought this concern up, I was quickly told by several people in the administration and Office of Housing and Residence Life that it was a quiet matter and I shouldn’t be making a big deal with it,” Tedesco told The Huffington Post.
The school didn’t actually investigate the crime they basically just asked each student, Tedesco and her rapist, what happened,”I really wouldn’t call it an investigation, I would call it an interview of me and an interview of the person who raped me.”
Emerson reported the incident to her parents without her consent, a violation of her privacy rights considering she is not a minor, then they asserted that Tedesco take the semester off.
“Basically asking me to leave the college which was something I obviously didn’t want to hear from a school administrator. It made me very nervous that I was doing something wrong,” she said.
But Tedesco chose to stay and do something brave. She and Jillian Doherty, another student whose rape was grossly under investigated then thrown out, along with some more Emerson students have filed a federal Title IX complaint with the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. I’m sure you’ve heard that term plenty on CC because we’ve been covering the frustratingly long list of ongoing sexual assault investigations on college campuses around the country this year.
Tedesco is currently working on campus to raise awareness about sexual assault. You go, girl.
[Image Via. Shutterstock]