Target: Jody Shipper, USC Title IX Coordinator
Goal: Provide adequate support for rape victims, and punishment for perpetrators
A federal investigation has begun at the University of Southern California due to lack of institutional support for rape victims. The Office for Civil Rights, a part of the Department of Education, started the investigation after a complaint was filed by students.
The complaint was filed by 13 named students, along with several anonymous students, addressing the lack of institutional response to reports of rape on campus, a violation of Title IX. Jody Shipper, the Title IX coordinator (as well as the Executive Director of the Office of Equity and Diversity) has said that the university is working very hard to address any reports of sexual violence, but the students who filed the complaint do not agree.
One student tells a story of being raped by her ex-boyfriend and although she had audio recordings of his admission to the act, the university disregarded her claim. She was later told by officials at USC that her attacker was not to be punished for raping her, but instead “educated.” Another student was informed by the campus police that she was not actually raped because her attacker did not orgasm, while another student told a story of victim-blaming within the Department of Public Safety when she was told that by going out and drinking, she should expect to get raped.
Students were also upset by the consequences that rapists faced in the rare case that they were addressed for their actions. Assailants who are found guilty are often only given warnings, and are still given permission to graduate from the university.
By signing the petition below you will be condemning the University of Southern California for their blatant disregard for the rights of rape victims on USC campus.
Dear Jody Shipper,
Sexual assault is rampant across the United States, and particularly on college campuses. It is the duty of a college to protect its students in all ways possible, but in the cases when it can’t, to take very seriously the reports of its students quickly and accordingly to seek justice.
I am writing you to condemn you for your lack of attention the rights of rape victims at the University of Southern California. According to the complaint filed by many of your students, your university has allowed for institutionalized victim-blaming, a total disregard for reports of rape, and a policy of light punishments for those who are found guilty sexual violence. Many of your policies therefore discourage reports of rape because students don’t believe that anything will happen, as well as traumatizing victims by not properly addressing the situation or providing the appropriate care to those who are attacked. Your lack of respect for those reporting sexual assault is truly disgusting, and will not be tolerated. I hope that in the future you will adjust not only your policies but also the culture of your entire campus to avoid more attacks and encourage reporting of incidents.
[Your Name Here]
Photo Credit: Brion VIBBER via Wikimedia Commons