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Tuesday, July 16, 2013

My school betrayed me

Alexandra was a freshman at Yale when she survived an attempted rape that the school tried to cover up. Now she's fighting to make sure the Department of Education holds schools accountable for refusing to protect students from sexual assault.

 


Trigger warning: this email contains 

information about sexual assault that 

may be upsetting to survivors.

My first year at college, the night of 

the big freshman dance, a guy I 

thought was my friend tried to rape 

me. It gets worse: when I reported 

what happened to the authorities 

at Yale (where I went to school), 

they tried to cover up what 

happened -- and told me not to tell 

anyone, not even my roommate.

What Yale did was wrong -- and it 

was also illegal. But when 15 

classmates and I filed a complaint 

against Yale with the Department of 

Education's Office of Civil Rights 

(OCR), all the school got was a 

slap on the wrist. I was betrayed by 

my friend, then my school, then my 

government.

And I'm not alone. Dozens of 

complaints like mine are filed every 

year but OCR has only ever 

publicly found one school out of 

compliance with laws meant to 

protect survivors like me.

After hearing my story, hundreds 
of other survivors have joined me to demand that schools are held accountable for failing to protect students who are sexually assaulted. We started a petition calling on the Department of Education to hold schools accountable for failure to comply with federal law to protect survivors of sexual assault. Will you click here to sign?

The horrible truth is that, in America, 1 in 4 women in college will be raped -- and nearly two thirds of colleges and universities don't comply with federal law about preventing sexual assault and protecting survivors.

Yale told me I shouldn't pursue 
formal discipline because it would be "too draining." They said the guy was probably just in love with me. I had to live in fear of the next time I'd run into him, and he faced no consequences at all.

A few friends and I started talking publicly about our experiences, and then an amazing thing happened. Survivors started reaching out to us and saying they'd been through the same thing. What started as a Facebook conversation grew into a group of more than 600 survivors, all supporting each other, and now, all fighting to make sure that more students won't have to go through what we've been through.
There are people at OCR who know how bad it is for survivors like me, and they’ve developed some important new policies, but they face serious political pressure not to hold these schools accountable. So we need thousands of people to sign 
our petition so we can build some serious pressure of our own. 

Click here to sign our petition 
demanding that the Department of Education hold colleges and universities accountable for failing to comply with federal law to prevent sexual assault and protect survivors like me.

Thank you,
Alexandra Brodsky
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