What happens when you’re raped and you’re honest about it at Brigham Young University? You get suspended because you violated their “Honor Code,” which is informed by the “moral virtues encompassed in the gospel of Jesus Christ.” What can they say? Jesus was kinda known for being “judgy.” Jack Healy reports:
It requires modest dress on campus, discourages consensual sex outside marriage and, among other things, prohibits drinking, drug use, same-sex intimacy and indecency, as well as sexual misconduct.
But after Brooke, 20, told the university that a fellow student had raped her at his apartment in February 2014, she said the Honor Code became a tool to punish her. She had taken LSD that night, and also told the university about an earlier sexual encounter with the same student that she said had been coerced. Four months after reporting the assault, she received a letter from the associate dean of students.
“You are being suspended from Brigham Young University because of your violation of the Honor Code including continued illegal drug use and consensual sex, effective immediately,” the letter read.
Seems Brooke isn’t the only woman who, after coming forward, was interrogated about using alcohol or drugs or having consensual sex. Look, there’s always a way to pin it on the woman, you just have to look for it. And Brigham Young officials are reportedly committed to looking.
Brigham Young’s policy on sexual misconduct urges students to come forward even if they have broken university policies. The university says that it investigates sexual assault complaints fully, but that it also has an obligation to pursue misconduct under the Honor Code. According to the sexual misconduct policy, violations of its code discouraging consensual sex are not exempt from scrutiny.
“Brigham Young University cares deeply about the safety of our students,” Carri Jenkins, a university spokeswoman, wrote in an email. “When a student reports a sexual assault, our primary focus is on the well-being of the victim.”
Sometimes, though, “facts come to light that a victim has engaged in prior Honor Code violations,” she said.
Come forward, we care about you. Oh, sorry, turns out you broke the code and must suffer the consequences.
Supposedly they’re reviewing their victim-blaming review process. But if you’re not already incensed enough, read the whole the story. It’s a pattern. You’ll love the one about BYU’s general counsel, Stephen Craig, using the “Honor Code” to run a 20-year-old woman out of the school.