SCAR is, at its core, an activism group focused on change. The default treatment of victims of sexual violence in this country is routinely one of shame, disbelief and dismissal. This occurs socially amongst peers, as well as legally — with victims facing the likelihood of revictimization at the hands of those employed to help, such as university administrators and law enforcement officials.
The problem lies with visibility and culpability. Historically, victims have had no forum in which to share their grievances, to compare their treatment to that experienced by others. This has allowed violative behavior to occur unchecked, because without accumulated data, no one is capable of subjecting the quality of treatment to review.
In order to combat this, as of April 2013, we have actively been compiling a growing (and confidential) list of staff and local law enforcement officials who have presented patterns of repeat violations, as well as student perpetrators who are repeat offenders.
And in May 2013, we filed a group complaint with the Department of Education on behalf of a number of students and staff members against the University of Southern California for reported violations of the Clery Act, Title II and Title IX, among other basic rights violations.
Title IX was a 1972 Civil Rights Act amendment which promised certain rights to all students pursuing higher education. Although it has been primarily used to protect the rights of athletes, Annie Clark of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and Caroline Heldman and Danielle Dirks at Occidental College are among some of the first women to utilize Title IX to better protect victims of sexual violence on college campuses.
Title IX states:
No person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance.
In effect, unwanted and unwelcome sexual behavior — including harassment, stalking, assault and rape — impact a student’s access to educational opportunities, and any educational institution that receives federal funding has an obligation under Title IX to protect students’ rights.
Under Title IX, the University must afford you certain accommodations, or your rights are being violated. Contact us if you were victim of interpersonal violence and one (or more) of the following scenarios occurred:
- I was placed into a “hostile environment.”
- My academic performance was negatively affected.
- The University failed to accommodate a documented disability — including anxiety, depression, insomnia, paranoia or suicidal ideation — that developed as a direct consequence of my assault.
- I was discouraged from reporting or pursuing recourse to the fullest extent by University staff and/or LAPD.
- My privacy was violated by University staff (including counseling and/or health care staff).
- I reported my assault and I don’t think University staff/DPS incorporated my assault into aggregate crime statistics for the semester.
- Faculty and/or staff failed to follow up with me regarding the status of my misconduct report.
- I was not informed of all or some of my rights when I reported; there were support programs or options of which I was unaware.
- No one informed me that I could request a replacement if I did not get along with one of the adjudicators assigned to investigate and render judgment for my report.
- I and/or those close to me experienced harassment and/or retaliation after I reported my assault.
- The investigation into and adjudication of my assault report lasted longer than 60 days and/or was not “prompt” and “equitable.”
- The University (and the office of Student Judicial Affairs and Community Standards) did not provide me with an adequate, impartial investigation.
- I was not informed of my right to appeal the University’s decision in my case and/or how to appeal.
- SJACS granted an appeal to my alleged perpetrator without notifying me, or changed their initial ruling without notifying me.
- Sanctions against my attacker were inconsistent with University policy or were discrepantly lenient.
- Before, during or after the investigation, I witnessed University staff perpetuating or parroting “rape myths” to dismiss the validity of my (or fellows students’) sexual misconduct claims. (i.e. “What were you wearing when it happened?” or “He doesn’t seem like a person who would do that,” or “Students at USC are good people,” etc.)
- I feel educative and preventative programs for sexual assault at the University are inadequate.
Again: If you have experienced any of these violations, your rights have been violated and you may qualify for restitution.
S.C.A.R. believes that by demonstrating to the University of Southern California that students will exhibit zero tolerance for the violation of the rights of fellow Trojans, the University will adopt a zero tolerance policy toward those who commit rape. Help us make our campus the safest it can be.
You can ask S.C.A.R. any questions at firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you for your interest in this issue. We sincerely hope we can help you.