UVA rape victim calls on university officials across country for - WFSB 3 Connecticut

UVA rape victim calls on university officials across country for change

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Liz Securro spoke with WSLS Reporter Katie Love about the culture of rape today and 30 years ago. Liz Securro spoke with WSLS Reporter Katie Love about the culture of rape today and 30 years ago.
Virginia Tech's Deputy of Title IX Officer Dr. Frank Shushock says some statistics about rape reporting on campuses don't add up. Virginia Tech's Deputy of Title IX Officer Dr. Frank Shushock says some statistics about rape reporting on campuses don't add up.
From 2010 to 2012, there were 2 forcible sexual assaults reporter at VMI, 16 at Radford University, 23 at Virginia Tech and 41 at UVA. From 2010 to 2012, there were 2 forcible sexual assaults reporter at VMI, 16 at Radford University, 23 at Virginia Tech and 41 at UVA.
Charlottesville (WSLS) - At 17, and a new student at the University of Virginia, Liz Seccuro entered a fraternity house a virgin and left a rape victim.

She says she was drugged and then sexually assaulted by multiple men on campus.

The event happened in 1984. Seccuro says she went to the Dean of Students, Robert Canevari after the incident. In her new book titled "Crash Into Me," Seccuro writes, "with the blood still leaking from me and my face bruised, he asked me, 'are you sure you didn't have sex with this man and you don't want to admit that you aren't a good girl?'"

Now, 30 years later, a report released by the White House says there's still not enough being done to prevent these crimes from happening on college campuses.  WSLS 10 reporter Katie Love asked Seccuro if she thought any progress had been mad.

"It's a really great question, Katie. I don't know if we, as a nation, if we have changed our opinion of victims. I don't know if it's any different than when my case went to trial or even from when I was drugged and gang raped at a fraternity house. I still see the culture. I still see the word 'feminist' being used as a terrible word, which by the way, I don't define as such. I define as a humanist," Securro said.

Seccuro's response is echoed in a report released by Senator Claire McCaskill titled "How Too Many Institutions of Higher Education are Failing to Protect Students." 

Statistics in the report say:
  • One in five women is sexually assaulted while in college
  • Less than 5% of rape victims attending college report the attack more than
  • 30% have no sexual assault training
  • More than 40% of universities have not conducted a rape investigation in the past five years
Virginia Tech's Deputy of Title IX Officer Dr. Frank Shushock says that last statistic doesn't add up.

Shushock says, by law, every sexual assault needs to be investigated. His department has investigated 13 in the last school year.

"It really is associated with the inconsistent approach that colleges and universities have employed in addressing allegations of sexual misconducts. One of the interesting things is, we're all tackling this differently on our campuses, so there's not a one-size-fits-all approach," Dr. Shuschok says. "The interesting thing about the Offices of Civil Rights and the Department of Education is they offer what's called 'guidance,' but they don't offer specifics about implementation, and so that can create a lot of confusion."

Here are the number of forcible sexual assaults reported by local universities from 2010 to 2012:
  • VMI: 2
  • Roanoke College: 5
  • Radford: 16
  • Virginia Tech: 23
  • UVA: 41

Although, how can the public trust these numbers tell the whole story when university officials admit there's an inconsistent approach to the way sexual assaults are being reported across the country? The White House Report also points out that it's not just the reporting, but the way the victims are being treated deters them from coming forward.

Seccuro hopes by telling her story, it can be the starting point to bringing justice to an incident that happened in her life and continues to repeat itself to other men and women some thirty years later.

"I hope by people seeing that I am whole, and healthy, and able to tell my story, that the shame is not here. The shame is on the perpetrator, those who are the rapists. The shame is never within your own soul and there's nothing to be ashamed of," Seccuro says.



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