In 2016, End Rape on Campus (EROC) assisted Megan Rondini’s parents in the filing of federal Title IX, Title II, and Clery Act Complaints against the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa, for failures to follow civil rights and campus crime reporting requirements. Her story, “How Accusing A Powerful Man of Rape Drove A College Student To Suicide” was published in BuzzFeed News this morning.
Megan Rondini was a student at the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa (UA) when she was raped by a man in his mid-thirties, whom she met at a college bar near campus. Her assailant was not a student at UA, but he did — and continues to — have strong ties to the UA community. Megan reported being raped to three separate institutions whom she believed would support her: The University of Alabama, the Tuscaloosa Police Department, and Druid City Hospital (DCH); unfortunately, instead of supporting her, all three institutions failed her. In 2016, after violations of her civil rights and betrayal of her trust, Megan took her own life.
To that end, we call on Alabama lawmakers to change the state rape statute, so that proving rape does not require proving “earnestly” resisting, as research shows that survivors of trauma often have flight, fight, or freeze responses. EROC calls on Alabama hospitals to have Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners (SANE) programs in place so that survivors are treated with care and dignity, and in order to ensure evidence is properly collected. We call on police offices in the entirety of Alabama to commit to trauma-informed interviewing techniques, so that when survivors come forward, that they have a chance at justice, as opposed to immediately being blamed.
“Megan was a loving, bright, and dedicated student, daughter, and sister. She, like all students, deserved to be safe and supported at their academic institution. We at EROC support survivors whether or not they choose to report, and in this case, Megan reported to every institution society asks of survivors of sexual violence; yet, she was failed by all of them. Although Megan is tragically no longer with us, we hope that Megan’s story is heard by institutions and lawmakers, and that it leads to meaningful change for survivors,” said Annie E. Clark, Executive Director.
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End Rape on Campus (EROC) is a national survivor-led nonprofit dedicated to ending gender based violence on college campuses through survivor support, prevention through education, and policy advocacy. You can learn more at www.endrapeoncampus.org.