This year has brought news of student athletes charged with sex crimes at Boston University and at Temple, along with countless other less publicized cases. There have been claims that Wesleyan University tolerated a fraternity house where the abuse of women was common. A gang rape at the University of Massachusetts was reported just this week.
But none has generated more soul searching, or scrutiny from beyond, than a woman’s wrenching account, published in a campus newspaper last week, of being raped in May 2011 by a fellow student at Amherst College and then being treated callously by college administrators.
“Eventually I reached a dangerously low point, and, in my despondency, began going to the campus’ sexual assault counselor,” the woman wrote in The Amherst Student. “In short I was told: No you can’t change dorms, there are too many students right now. Pressing charges would be useless, he’s about to graduate, there’s not much we can do. Are you SURE it was rape?”
Within hours, the story of the woman, Angie Epifano, became the most-examined episode in memory on this campus of 1,800 students, the subject of online commentary from around the world. It prompted other Amherst students, past and present, to step forward publicly and say that they, too, had been sexually assaulted here, treated poorly afterward, and in many cases had left campus rather than be around assailants who were allowed to remain.