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Baylor University Perpetuated its Gang Rape Culture, Lawsuit Says

By doing nothing to stop the alleged gang rape “bonding” experience for the school’s football players, Baylor created a culture rife with sexual assault.

Former Baylor University head coach Art Briles / REUTERS

Baylor University’s football players bond over rape, according to a new lawsuit being filed against the school (its seventh Title IX lawsuit) — which places the blame on the university for perpetuating an environment that allegedly let repeated rapes take place.

A new complaint was made by plaintiff Jane Doe on Tuesday, naming Baylor University as the defendant. According to the complaint, Jane Doe is a former Baylor student who played on the volleyball team. She was allegedly drugged and gang raped by several Baylor football players — a practice described as “a ‘bonding’ experience for the football players” and “a system of hazing” for the freshmen recruits.

According to the lawsuit, as many as eight Baylor football players gang raped Doe. Doe attended a party at an apartment where some of the players lived, where she was allegedly drugged. According to the filing, the players took turns raping her. After the rape, Doe claims she heard some of the guys yell, “Grab her phone! Delete my numbers and texts!”

The abuse continued after the alleged rape, Doe claims:

“Baylor football players sent several text messages to Plaintiff in which they attempted to paint a completely different picture of what had happened that night. One football player told Plaintiff that it was consensual and that she ‘wanted it.’ That same football player also taunted Plaintiff with claims that a Baylor football player had taken nude photographs of Plaintiff and other Baylor football players during the gang rape.

“The football players also perpetuated rumors about Plaintiff throughout the Baylor campus about ‘riding train’ on Plaintiff, a reference to the night they took turns raping her as she laid there barely conscious.”

Leaders at the school let the disturbing acts of violence be permissible by taking no action to stop them, the filing states: “Baylor football under [Art] Briles had run wild, in more ways than one, and Baylor was doing nothing to stop it.”

Former coach Briles was fired last year amid mounting allegations that he was aware of the sexual assaults taking place but did not take action. Former university president Ken Starr was also dismissed and stepped down from his position as chancellor. Ian McCraw, the former athletic director, had been suspended and eventually resigned.

Doe’s lawsuit blames the university for creating the culture that let the heinous crime take place:

“… Baylor officials permitted a campus condition rife with sexual assault and completely lacking the basic standards of support for victims as required by federal and state law. This case arises from Baylor’s deliberately indifferent response to multiple events of student-on-student sexual assault and subsequent sex-based harassment.

“Baylor’s failure to promptly and appropriately investigate and respond to the assaults allowed a condition to be created that substantially increased Plaintiff’s chances of being sexually assaulted, as well as others. Moreover, Baylor’s failure to promptly and appropriately investigate and respond to these assaults furthered sexual harassment and a hostile environment, effectively denying Plaintiff, and other female students, access to educational opportunities.”

According to the lawsuit, Doe’s mother met with an assistant football coach and gave a list of some of the players who attacked her daughter. She allegedly asked what the university could do about the rape but never heard from the coach again.

Members of the Baylor Board of Regents are also to blame for their inaction, the filing claims, stating that they recently acknowledged the assistant coach did have a conversation with two of the players named in the assault:

“The football players reportedly admitted to ‘fooling around’ with Plaintiff, likening the atrocious gang rape to ‘a little bit of playtime.’ The assistant football coach reportedly spoke to other Baylor football coaches who engaged in victim-blaming. Despite taking no further action to determine the veracity of the gang rape allegations, the assistant football coach concluded that the accusations were in a ‘gray area’ and there was no definitive evidence of sexual assault.”

The practice of “victim blaming” only furthers the cycle in which victims do not report their rapes, which is the case more often than not. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), women aged 18-24, whether they are college students or not, are at a high risk for becoming victims of sexual assault. College women of this age are three times more likely than women overall to be sexually assaulted.

Sexual assault seems to be more prevalent than other crimes on college campuses, data shows. For every college woman who is the victim of a robbery, two women are victims of sexual assault.

Unfortunately, the crime goes unreported more often than not. Only 20 percent of female victims 18-24 who are students report the crimes committed against them, RAINN reports.

A 2014 publication from the National Research Council of the National Academies states that statistics on rape are likely inaccurate and that rapes in fact occur at a higher frequency than often reported.

According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), men who commit one rape are more likely to commit another: more than 60 percent of men who self-report attempted rape or rape also confess to committing repeated rapes.

If Baylor’s football players were committing rapes with no consequences, as the lawsuit alleges the university allowed, they would have no reason to stop and would be likely to victimize numerous women.

According to a statement from the school, “Baylor remains committed to eliminating all forms of sexual and gender-based harassment and discrimination within our campus community.”

Read more news @ DiversityInc.com

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