Students Say Brigham Young University Punishes Them For Being Sexually Assaulted

Current and former students of Brigham Young University (BYU) state that they are being investigated by the school’s Honor Code Office, and in some cases punished, for reporting their sexual assaults to the University.

In an investigation by the Salt Lake Tribune, one student survivor said her future enrollment at the University is on hold pending the results of an Honor Code Office investigation into her rape case.

The case additionally led to a criminal case in Provo, Utah.

The student spoke at a rape awareness conference on her campus last week and challenged the way the University handles sexual assault investigations. She said to the Tribune:

“I said ‘I’d like to propose that victims of sexual violence have some kind of immunity clause from the Honor Code, because it creates a hostile environment for victims who think they’re going to get in trouble for reporting.'”

According to the Tribune, Sarah Westerberg, the University’s Title IX coordinator, publicly disagreed with the student survivor. Westerberg said, “her office would ‘not apologize’ for referring abuse victims for discipline.”

At Brigham Young University, the Honor Code Office is responsible for investigating students who may have broken one of the school’s rules on dress code, curfew, drug or alcohol use or consensual sex.

The school’s officials denied student claims that sexual assault survivors are referred to the Honor Code Office for investigation. They instead claimed that Honor Code investigations are “independent and separate” from Title IX investigations.

However, several student survivors disagree.

A survivor, a former student named Brooke, told the Tribune that she was expelled and is barred from reapplying for two years. The school had assured her that reporting her rape would not lead to an investigation conducted by the Honor Code office.

Carri Jenkins, a spokeswoman for the University, said that the school’s sexual misconduct policy states that violations of University of Honor Code policy do not put a sexual assault at fault. Any violations are supposed to be investigated separately from the “sexual misconduct allegation.”

One student said, “I was raped, and I waited four days to report because I was so terrified about my standing at BYU.”

It seems like there is a discrepancy between the school and its students.

Westerberg allegedly told one student that the reason why the Honor Code Office is so strict is because “people falsely report rapes because the Honor Code Office is so strict on premarital sex, and people report rapes so they won’t get investigated.”

School officials continue to deny that this is happening at all, despite the students who have come forward with their real, full names to say that is absolutely is.

It is appalling that in this supposed “progressive” era we continue to punish survivors of sexual assault. It’s time that we throw away these archaic modes of thinking and treating these victims as victims and leave the rapists to rot like the scum they are.

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