The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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SMU sinks to new lows

Gossip Web site is feeding ground for abuse of sexual

Congratulations, SMU! It seems as if our campus as hit a new all-time low. In response to last week’s aggravated assault on a female student at the SAE house, numerous students have taken it upon themselves to not only defend the fraternity, but also accuse the victim of bringing the attack on herself.

While most students continue to access JuicyCampus.com as a joke, the gossip-strewn Web site has morphed into a dumping ground for any topic. Just click on the link addressing the date rape topic and you will be subjected to nearly three dozen posts ranging from how sexual assault is expected at the SAE house, down to how the school refuses to punish sexual offenders.

So what makes SMU students think they can openly discuss such a horrific event in a playful manner? Is it a sick way for people to feel better about themselves? Is it the members of the house trying to play it off as being the girl’s fault, or is it a combination of both: people trying to turn this girl’s scarring experience into a laughing matter.

While the student accused of the assault has been referred to the Dean of Student Life, the woman has declined to file criminal charges. It is dead wrong to assume that this woman withdrew charges because she was, in fact, guilty of bringing the trouble on herself. Victims often hide behind a veil, thinking that ignoring the issue will help it disappear. Wrong. Did our student body, the supposed authors of the Juicy Campus posts, ever pause to think that accusing the girl of initiating the attack would cause her to withdraw her accusation as a last attempt to salvage her own self-respect?

If a rape victim is willing to come forward with information regarding an attack, the student body should embrace this mark of confidence. Rather than supporting the victim, our campus is making this girl’s nightmare an even harsher reality.

It is a known fact that sexual assault is the most under-reported violent crime. How are we to expect victims to come forward to identify their attackers and press charges if they will be subjected to rude and degrading criticism from their peers?

It is also a shame to hear students express their lack of faith in the school’s disciplinary actions regarding the assault. A specific post says the SAE house will not even be punished because too many members of the Board of Trustees are alumni of the fraternity.

Our campus needs to take a step back and rally behind these instances to make our campus a stronger and more united front. We can’t tolerate petty gossip, allow these victims to be further targeted or turn our backs on our school’s judicial system.

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