Target: Bob Iger, The Walt Disney Company CEO
Goal: Properly resolve rape report within Disney’s College Program
The Disney College Program is an opportunity for college students to work for Disney at one of their many locations. A student in this program can expect to live and work on site, meet guest and cast members, and take part in a ” truly unique program [that] allows participants to network with leaders, take part in personal and career development classes, and build transferable skills such as problem-solving, teamwork, guest service and effective communication.” Dana never expected rape to be a part of the Disney package. After going to a party with co-workers, Dana went to a man’s apartment and was raped. Dana felt as though the whole incident was her fault and even tried to friend the rapist, who was too drunk to even remember what happened that night.
After several weeks, Dana decided to report the rape. A counselor from Employee Assistance told Dana, “Well, now you know not to be hanging around boys in the middle of the night. You know what they want,” insinuating that it was her fault that her co-worker decided to rape her. The counselor tried to justify the rapist’s actions because he was French and there were obvious cultural differences, and then mocked her for being “jealous” after seeing the man with other girls at a party. She was simply worried for their safety. Distressed, Dana contacted the Employee Relations Department, which was less then helpful. Here, she was blamed her for drinking (despite being over the legal age), not defending herself better, and not contacting the police.
The story, featured on the website xojane.com, is not only shocking but also disturbing. How could Disney fail to take rape seriously, being a resort for children and families? According to the U.S. Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, “there is an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year.” According to “NYC Against Rape,” like Dana, “64% of all rapes and sexual assaults were committed by offenders who were previously known to the victim. Nearly 6 out of 10 rapes occur at the victim’s home or the home of a friend, relative, or neighbor. about 4,000 rapes and sexual assault occur in public schools each year.” Many are terrified to come forward for fear of disbelief. Dana, after leaving Disney, contacted a friend who remarked that the rapist continued working as though nothing happened. Demand that Disney take cases of rape seriously — “no” means no!
I am disappointed to hear that a college student in the Disney College Program was forsaken and ridiculed after reporting a rape by one of her co-workers. Ignoring a rape is irresponsible and unprofessional. Furthermore, defending the rapist is despicable.
By refusing to act against the rapist, a college student worker in your resort, you are putting children, families and students in the College Program in danger. Please inform the Employee Assistance Department and the Employee Relations Department of the proper protocol when a worker reports a rape — by no means should a counselor defend the rapist.
[Your Name Here]