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What happens to those accused of rape?

Nationwide, questions arise over how universities handle sexual violence

Published: Thursday, December 5, 2013

Updated: Thursday, December 5, 2013 04:12

“The goal is not to punish,” he said. “The goal is that the community is safe and you understand and turn around.”

But, he said, universities in general are coming to a tipping point in raising the question as to whether there should ever be a place at a university for someone found responsible of rape. 

“As laws become more refined to Title IX, the Violence Against Women Act and the responsiveness by institutions, you might start to see more sanctioning,” he said. 

Nanci Newton, director for the Center of Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention, said USF as an institution has always been responsive to the needs of victims. While she said the justice system has not been built to support the needs of victims, she said the OSSR works hard to make sure victims rights are protected, and the Center for Victim Advocacy and Violence Prevention works with the victim to rearrange schedules or housing if necessary and providing constant support to victims. 

Much of the change necessary to provide a culture supportive of victims’ needs must start at the citizen level, she said, and creating an active bystander culture that is against victim blaming is important, and something the university has always prioritized.  

“Victims don’t always get what they want, in life or in the outcome,” she said. “But whether or not the outcome is what the victim wanted, they’re no less of a survivor and the university makes sure they’re not just listened to. They’re heard.” 

  

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