Please, deep breathing may be necessary to finish this blog post.
I’ve been reading a lot these past couple of months, and recent weeks have been very active. I’ve been seeing sexual assault through new lenses, and working for myself, and now, toward healing and helping others. I didn’t know much about pushback until last night. I ran across FACE in my local (this past Sunday) newspaper. The sections included the actions concerning a Gustavus Adolphus campus rape allegation, and results (that link I found), this is the newspaper link: StarTribune Womyn’s Awareness Center pushback to campus Title IX actions.
It seems the early work in March of this year by Gustavus Adolphus students has led to a Sept 2nd, 2016 posting for a full-time Title IX staffer and I found it’s been going on around campus’ for some time Title IX jobs on campus’ around the U.S.
It’s “FACE” that caught my attention. Because, Sherry Warner-Seefeld and her FACEBOOK feed SAVE bothers me as much as FACE does. FACE was started by Sherry and two other mothers. She’s a mother whose son was accused of an on campus rape. The actions of FACE and their facebook feed SAVE are exacerbated by another group calling themselves COTWA or the Community of the Wrongly Accused
To those 3 entities, add: a model for action at Help SAVE our Sons; suing the schools and or victims, maybe law enforcement, etc… but sue them they do. Sherry is one of three founders, and they got the aid of Judith Grossman as another founder. Sherry thinks Campus investigation methods are witch hunts, and denying due process, creating more victims . What? A big part of the problem she foments, is the [he said vs she said] paradigm. It foments denying the reports victims! In the case of Sherry’s son, they actually achieved an arrest warrant for her son’s victim! Wow?! So, in my opinion, she’s now a double+ victim, and her son is enabled to make the excuse: alcohol is a defense to rape!! That’s horrific! Their tactic, FACE, SAVE, COTWA and others, is to build doubt of the victim’s word, repeated denial and fomenting doubt, until it becomes true to them (Sherry and her son), but horribly, it may then become true for others and lunatics. There are plenty of lunatics.
What lens do you dear reader, think the public, Title IX coordinators, administrators and others who work on these allegations could look through to make progress ensuring safety, integrity, avoid revictimization of the rape victim, and foment support for rape victims rights? We know the [he said vs she said] paradigm is flawed, and the first step is to draw the line where rape victim rights vs accused are in line with a just outcome. Which means the rapist must have a police report filed against them, and why wouldn’t a judge be involved. The police have obstructed justice for the victim too often, and even if I grudgingly respect where Sherry, Judith and others are coming from as mother’s standing up for their children, It’s reprehensible to disregard the rape culture they’re not addressing. The problem of campus rape and many other forms of sexual violence is epidemic. Their push back puts up an impediment for rape victim justice; It misleads and in my opinion is unworthy of the attention they’re getting.
I think the first step is to listen to the rape victim, acknowledge they’re heard, and listen some more. I think there’s a role for advocates here that is seemingly wholly ignored, especially by Administrations that are forced to follow overwhelming privacy restrictions. I’ve noticed that Administrations are looking through the lens of the Clery Act and like the Gustavus Adolphus incident, diminished the urgent need for on campus awareness almost 2 months. That does not seem to fit the rules of disclosure to the campus community in my book. It’s part of the culture and what these new Title IX coordinators must address going forward.
Gawd, I hope I don’t trigger anyone, but angst or becoming aware and called to action is a good thing. There are too many lives denied their hope of healing. The push back, is going to have push back!
Please comment, this is important.