Canadian universities have been dealing with the fall out of alleged sexual assaults on campus for years. From sexual assault incidents at the University of Calgary to Wilfrid Laurier University, previous cases have gone to show that campus regulation on sexual assault can be a messy subject. In the latest case, controversy has hit the St. Francis Xavier campus in Nova Scotia over an alleged rape involving an 18-year-old female student and a man five years her senior.
It all started when the female freshman went out on a Friday last November with her friends where she met her alleged attacker, who was a friend of a friend. Later in the night, she noticed she had left her laptop charger on a different floor of the co-ed residence building, where she and the accused both lived. She ended up texting the accused asking if she could go grab it. But, instead, he offered to bring it up to her floor.
Once he brought the charger to her room, the victim claims they talked for a little bit and after hugging goodbye, he started to kiss her. She said she had been "confused but went with it," before telling him "we shouldn't" shortly after.
With regard to what happened after, the victim said "it all kinds of blurs together after that. I don't remember how he managed to take my clothes off." The victim does remember the actual assault though, and that she had told him no but he "didn't stop."
A few days after the alleged assault, the mother of the victim says that the accused sent a text to the victim asking "if she was OK, if she was in pain... saying he's sorry."
The victim's identity has been concealed by a publication ban and the mother has commented anonymously in an effort to protect her daughter's identity.
It wasn't until Christmas break that the victim told her mother about the assault while she was at home, telling her, "you know mom, I don't want to ruin his life. I just don't want to have to see him anymore." Shortly after confessing the situation to her mother, the female student reported the incident to St. F.X in January when she got back to school.
From there, the school started an investigation. As a result, the accused wasn't allowed to contact or enter the victim's residence floor until the investigation was over and a resolution was found.
In March, the university's panel decided that the accused was responsible. He was allowed to finish out the rest of the school year, but it was to be done with strict conditions. The accused was forced to move out of the residence building and was only allowed to eat in the meal hall during restricted hours. Come 2018-2019, he would be suspended for the academic year.
While the situation seemed to have as happy of a resolution as it could, the panel's response to the accused's appealing of the verdict resulted in a complete upending of the entire situation. When the victim returned to school this year, she learned that the student was allowed to return to campus, and nobody from the school had notified her.
As a result, the female student decided to leave St. F.X and transfer to a school closer to home, her mother noting "she feels completely betrayed by the school." Especially considering that, after his appeal, the victim went to the RCMP to get a restraining order and charge him for sexual assault.
St. F.X has since responded publicly to the situation, claiming that the decision was not overturned but rather is in the process of an appeal. As a result, the student in question can continue to go to classes on campus.
The school does claim that they regret not giving the victim a warning. They claim that they "have accepted responsibility for this and have since apologized to the victim." On the other hand, the mother of the daughter claims the "school has not apologized to my daughter."
While the investigation is still ongoing, it's unclear exactly what will happen to the accused student. Regardless of the outcome, the victim's decision to leave campus after feeling as though she's been "punished for coming forward" sheds a light on how coming forward about sexual assault isn't as cut and dry of a situation as one would hope.
Source: Yahoo News