“I think I’ve been more traumatized by the process of reporting than I was traumatized by the incident of assault.” — Caitlin Cunningham
In a story right out of The Hunting Ground, women at the University of British Columbia who reported sexual assaults were left abandoned and outraged despite clear violations of the universities code of conduct. In one case, faculty went so far as to try and arrange a meeting between a victim and the man who had assaulted her.
“I don’t want to sit in a room with this student,” said UBC student Caitlin Cunningham in a CBC interview. “And I don’t think it’s appropriate for assault, especially sexual assault, that you sit in a room … and have a mediation.”
UBC took more than a year and a half to act against one grad student despite mounting complaints of harassment or sexual assault by at least six women on campus, an investigation by CBC’s the fifth estate revealed.
Another student, Glynnis Kirchmeier, said she had approached school administrators on multiple occasions, beginning in 2011, after observing instances of alleged sexual misconduct by a fellow student.
The university failed to act on her complaints until recently, she said, when the head of the school issued a statement apologizing to the women involved.
In a non-apology apology, interim president and vice-chancellor Martha Piper said, “I want to apologize to the women in these cases who feel they have been let down by our university,” Her full statement is online.
Being let down and feeling let down are two very different things. UBC’s inaction in dealing with sexual violence against their own students has nothing do with how those students feel about it.
UBC screwed up and their inaction led to more women being victimized. That kind of complacency warrants much more than an apology.
“UBC’s chance to do the right thing is over,” said Kirchmeier, adding that sorry was no longer enough.
UBC History professor Paul Krause shares his thoughts about The Enduring Silence of UBC’s ‘Hunting Ground’. When you’re there read the comments. This isn’t unique to UBC.