Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one-night stands? Did I even say, ‘No’? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect,” University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill sophomore, Delaney Robinson, a victim of sexual assault said, describing her interrogation by law enforcement officers the night of the incident.
Robinson had gone to the hospital hours after she had allegedly been raped to submit a rape kit. Six months later, the University had still failed to punish the man accused.
During an interview with the accused, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill linebacker Allen Artis, the law enforcement officers took a rather different tone than the one they had used with Robinson.
“Rather than accusing him of anything, the investigators spoke to him with a tone of camaraderie,” Robinson said. “They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls’ phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night that he raped me. They told him, ‘Don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and keep on playing football.’”
Artis is currently suspended from the Tar Heels. His first court hearing occurred Sept. 29 and the next hearing is scheduled for Dec. 5.
A similar case occurred Jan. 18, 2015 when 20-year-old Stanford swimmer Brock Turner was tackled by two Stanford international students after being seen on top of an unconscious woman behind a dumpster. The sentence, six months in prison, seemed reasonable to Judge Aaron Persky, who said, “A prison sentence would have a severe impact on (Turner).”
The two students who caught and tackled Turner would have thought differently; in her victim statement the woman said, “When the policeman arrived and interviewed the Swede who tackled (Turner), he was crying so hard he couldn’t speak because of what he’d seen.”
Incidences like these are now commonly reported in the news — seemingly unfair trials and sentences involving college athletes accused of raping or sexually assaulting women. Star athletes like the Stanford swimmer and UNC linebacker are repeatedly seen put on a pedestal, being treated as though their one “mistake” will not have the slightest impact on their future as an athlete. Why are some rape cases unjustly biased towards athletes and why, even after the trial, are these actions excusable in the eyes of some people?
“We have a constitutional right for defendants that they get a fair trial as unprejudiced as possible…(However) I think that cases can be unfair to victims,” Asheville attorney Michael Macht said. “The legal system we have is great, the problem is that it requires people to do it, so inherent with people is bias and error.”
The rape/sexual assault problem on college campuses is nearly indisputable — 95 percent of 80 West seniors surveyed stated that rape and sexual assault are problematic, or at least somewhat of a problem, at universities. 45 percent of senior women surveyed feel that they will be at risk of sexual assault or rape as a college student. According to an online survey conducted by the Association of American Universities, one in four to five women are sexually assaulted during their college careers.
“I think one of the main issues at universities is that for a lot of students it is their first time they are away from home and in all reality there is usually a multitude of alcohol flowing and drugs going around” Macht said. “I think that the colleges need to step up and be a little more civil minded.”
The obvious issue that comes to view during rape and sexual assault cases is consent. In North Carolina, there is no clean-cut definition of consent, rather, it depends on the context of the situation.
Colleges are encouraging students to verbally give consent with the phrases “No means No” and “Yes means Yes”.
“North Carolina right now has a mentality of ‘Yes Means Yes’ and ‘No Means No’ and the period in between, at least for our purposes, is an issue of we are going to look at in the context of the environment,” Macht said. “If we look at Brock Turner, the silent because you are incapacitated, that is never going to be consent.”
In a Wingspan survey, 70 percent of students interviewed stated that they were aware that consent cannot be granted if the victim is mentally incapacitated.
“I think we need more education as to what is allowed and what isn’t” Macht said. “A lot of the cases where they are preventable, I think if there was more education not only on the sex aspect, but if there was more education on the alcohol aspect, I think we would be a lot less busy and I think that would be a good thing.”
By: Amber Detwiler