Three fraternity brothers at James Madison University sexually assaulted a female classmate, filmed the event, and distributed the video to their friends. The University responded to the ordeal by banning the men from campus... after they graduate.
As members of the community, it is our responsibility to express our opinion that this is not a just sentence. We will no stand idly by as our friends are attacked and then humiliated by the attackers who walk away with a slap on the wrist. The survivor left the school, and understandably so. She was shown no support by the verdict that would have forced her into a situation where she could see the men who abused her on a daily basis, compromising her safety.
This woman came forward and sought help from the administration, a very rare and brave act from the survivors of an attack. Despite the video evidence, they sentenced the men to expulsion after graduation. It has become our duty to step in and continue to fight for her rights. She has the right to an education in an atmosphere in which she feels safe from predation. She has the right to the support of her peers, as well as the faculty and staff. She has the right to walk into a classroom without fear. She has the right to know that campus security will protect her and remove those who threaten her wellbeing.
We, the students of JMU want justice. We do not want to live in fear that the men we see on our campus and in our classrooms are violent and cruel. We are a community and we protect the members of our community from harm, both physical and psychological. We will not be afraid, because we will remove all threats and create a safe learning environment. We will stand up and protect each other when the institution has failed.. We want our home and our school to be a safe place, free from predation. We want predators to know that their behavior is not acceptable. We do not want to be the kind of school who makes the wrong decisions in regards to moral issues and has to have the federal government investigate. We want a zero tolerance policy. Most importantly, we want the women on our campus to feel safe and supported. We support you, Sarah.
At JMU we are told to "Be the change..." This is the change we want to see.
*Picture is screen captured from Jmu.edu