Stop Punishing Student Rape Victims at a Mormon University

BYU North Campus by Jaren Wilkey

Target: Brigham Young University President Kevin J. Worthen

Goal: Protect rape victims by providing an amnesty clause in the Honor Code at a Mormon university.

Many students of Brigham Young University who were victims of sexual assault were shocked to find that they were the ones being punished. When they had reported their sexual assault, the report had gone to the school’s Honor Code office as a violation, which can prevent a student from enrolling in future classes. Victims should be not fear punishment for reporting sexual assault; Brigham Young University needs to include an amnesty clause for rape victims in their Honor Code.

The Honor Code at Brigham Young University includes no swearing, caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, or premarital sex. Nonconsensual sex should not be considered a violation, but several rape victims have faced Honor Code violation punishments.

Madison Barney, a sophomore at Brigham Young University who, along with others, had asked to be identified to draw attention to their cases, reported to the police that she had been raped at an off-campus apartment. She was then called by school officials, who had threatened to send her case to the Honor Code office. She was informed that she could continue with her semester classes, but she would not be allowed to enroll in any future classes “until the Honor Code issues were resolved.” Her rapist has yet to stand trial.

The university currently does not have any sexual assault education or prevention training like other universities. Colleen Payne Dietz, an alumni of the school, said, “There is a whole systemic problem at BYU that creates a rape culture. There’s shame coming from every angle when it comes to sexual assault.”

The Mormon school wants to maintain a reputation as a safe and pure campus, but their way of doing that is by suppressing the voices of rape victims. As long as that keeps happening, the campus won’t get any safer. Make sure that Brigham Young University offers an amnesty clause for rape victims in their Honor Code.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear President Worthen,

Brigham Young University wants its campus to be safe and pure, but that is not going to happen as long as the school continues to punish rape victims. Nonconsensual sex is not a violation of the Honor Code, and victims should be given amnesty to the code.

By punishing the victim, you are making other victims afraid to report sexual assault. This will only make your campus even more dangerous because the criminals are walking free. Please, shield rape victims from the punishments of the Honor Code.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Jaren Wilkey

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