The University of California-Berkeley is facing student allegations from 31 students from the classes of 1975 to 2016 that they are mishandling rape charges.
Aryle Butler, a junior majoring in geography who is among the women filing the complaint, says she was sexually assaulted twice during the summer of 2012. She said Wednesday that the OPHD repeatedly asked her the question, "How many times did you say no?" She'd "lost track of how many times she was told, 'There's nothing we can do.'"
When asked what UC Berkeley’s sexual assault policy is now, Butler told Al Jazeera, “The policy is, don’t get raped.”
The sad fact is that in the 21st century, too many institutions are allowing a rape culture to exist within their institutions. The rape culture involves people or institutions either blaming the victim for being raped, sweeping complaints under the rug, or showing just as much concern for the emotional health and well-being of the rapist as they are for the victim. In UC Berkeley's case, they show more concern for the alleged rapist than the victim. In 2012, four women who were members of a student organization filed allegations that they were sexually assaulted by a male member of the group:
She was also unsuccessful in trying to have her alleged assailant removed from the student group to which they belonged, and said the university's Gender Equity Resource Center advised her that the group should "keep him close in case he does it again" so that he would "have a community of friends to support him in processing it."When the university departments were contacted by Al-Jazeera to defend themselves, they cut and run from the allegations. When people are unwilling to talk about these allegations to the media about a problem that is this serious in nature, this is a clear sign that UC Berkeley is guilty of moral cowardice and is more concerned about protecting their institution than they are about helping eliminate the problem of rape on campus.
"Why should his healing process take precedent over the possibility that he could assault me again, or assault another person?" Karasek said Wednesday.
One of the few people who would talk, the university spokeswoman, said that there were "fewer than 10" cases reported to the student conduct office since 2008. That makes UC Berkeley's conduct even more damning. The fact that nobody will even go to them with allegations of rape means that they have developed a reputation as a place where rape is swept under our rug. The end result is that they are developing the next generation of criminals -- in other words, they are sending a message to two generations of kids that it's OK to commit crimes as long as you can get away with it.
The fact that the university is cutting and running from these allegations instead of defending themselves and responding to them means that we can only assume that these allegations are factual.
The rape culture that exists on campuses like UC Berkeley's and the massive corporate crime like Enron and the culture of corruption of the Bush administration such as Blackwater or Abramoff or Plamegate are directly related. The message that certain universities are sending to our kids is that you can do whatever you want regardless of who the victim is as long as you can get away with it.
"UC Berkeley must fix its policies both in writing and in practice, including expelling rapists who continue to cause enduring damage to students, and holding administrators accountable for illegal actions and deliberate inaction," the women said Wednesday in a release.Universities should send a message to students that they should avoid even the appearance of impropriety. That means that if a student has allegations of rape made against them, they are placed on administrative leave until the matter is resolved. Only if the allegations are determined to be unfounded should he be allowed back on campus. This is just like work -- if someone is accused of misusing company funds, then that is what happens.
“Berkeley has this reputation for being very progressive and social-justice-minded,” Sofie Karasek, 20, a junior and a political economy major who spearheaded the effort, told Al Jazeera. “So that was really what struck me about having the administration be completely indifferent to my assault, because I was not expecting that from a university with a progressive reputation, which I thought would be willing to help me.”
All I can say is, don't send your daughters to UC Berkeley.