Letter: Support and believe survivors despite victim-blaming
Dear Outraged Student,
It can be hard to admit and believe that someone you love and trust can be capable of rape. It is easy to blame the victim because it allows us to live safely and comfortably in our own version of the truth. It’s difficult to even begin to comprehend that kind of betrayal of trust, but the fact is that over 92% of the time a person that says they are a victim of sexual assault isn’t lying.
2 to 8 percent of rape allegations are false (National Sexual Violence Resource Center 2009). That is the truth. For every 100 cases reported, that is 92 to 98 percent of victims are truthful.
In regards to the OCR report, you’re right. The University did take too long for its investigation. According to Title IX, the University must complete investigations within 90 days. MSU’s own rules dictate 60 days.
Your assertion that MSU “committed a great injustice by continuing to pursue an allegation despite no credible evidence” suggests ignorance concerning the entire process. Once a sexual assault is reported to a University, the University is required to investigate until it deems there is not a safety risk on campus.
If you have a problem with the investigators running an investigation, you should message the Department of Education, or your local official from Congress as it is a Federal Law.
The rulings found in the OCR report ruled that MSU took too long and took inadequate actions that caused a safety risk to the community. This is not because of poor investigations that lacked credible evidence, but rather because of a lack of action by administrators.
429 days is an unacceptable amount of time for this case. What you describe happening to you sounds much like stories from survivors that I have heard. That’s 429 days of someone walking around campus afraid to see someone that violated their trust and bodily autonomy. That’s 429 days of seeing their rapist on campus.
Some good news is that you and they are not alone. If you feel such overwhelming feelings of anxiety, please call the MSU crisis line which is staffed 24/7 by trained crisis advocates. That number is (517)372-6666.
We support and believe survivors even when societal norms of victim blaming does not. We believe you. We support you and it’s not your fault.
Mariah Hall is a neuroscience and anthropology senior.