By: Kelly Tansor, Copy Editor (firstname.lastname@example.org)
In a truly horrifying instance of cyberbullying, a college freshman was sexually assaulted at a fraternity party after a “rape guide” was posted online, instructing readers how to force this girl into oral sex. The website that was used has been scrutinized several times, and many students have come out in the past saying the school has a sexual violence problem. So why are rapes like this still happening?
A college freshman at Dartmouth College was named in an Internet message board called Bored@Baker. This site is not technically affiliated with the college, but is restricted only to Dartmouth students (don’t ask me how this makes sense). The post was a so-called “rape guide,” listing her address and photo, and explaining how to make her have oral sex.
Weeks later, she was sexually assaulted at a fraternity party.
The victim wrote about the attack on a private Facebook group, prompting action from local police. The student who posted the “rape guide” now faces judgment by the college community standards process.
As it turns out, this is an ongoing problem.
The victim says that people have told her that rapes like this “happen all the time.” Many students have voiced that the school has a sexual violence problem in the past. Not only that, the Bored@Baker forums have been a place of rape, and even death threats, for years. Still, Dartmouth is not – and cannot – take down the site. As college spokesman John D. Cramer says, “The college doesn’t control or support it… we don’t have the capacity to block access.”
As if that isn’t enough, the Huffington Post reports this,
Dartmouth is one of 41 colleges and universities under investigation by the U.S. Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights for potential violations of Title IX, a federal law forbidding gender discrimination. The college also faces a Clery Act complaint filed by students and recent alumni, alleging violations of the campus security law through underreporting of sexual violence, hazing and bias incidents.
There may still be hope, though. On Feb. 7th, Dartmouth announced a new sexual assault center will be opening. It will host a series of public meetings discussing sexual violence, campus safety, et cetera. $1.1 million has already been spent in the last three years on “initiatives devoting to sexual assault, high-risk drinking and campus climate.”
Still, there is no reason that sexual violence and cyberbullying like this has gone unnoticed for so long – especially on a website that many Dartmouth students knowingly visit. Coming from someone who was bullied relentlessly in middle school and high school, it is upsetting to see that bullying and sexual assault is still an issue in college. The college a student attends should feel like a safe haven, especially for freshmen, who are new to the college experience and may feel anxious and scared. Raising awareness is great, but that will not necessarily put an end to it. We need something more.