A college sophomore at the University of North Carolina is facing potential expulsion after speaking publicly about her rape and her institution’s lack of response. Landen Gambill will face UNC’s “Honor Court” for being “disruptive” and “intimidating” her rapist by sharing her sexual assault story according to Think Progress.
Gambill has spoken with the media about the lapses in UNC’s rape-reporting hierarchy. She told the Daily Tarheel that reporting her assault to campus police made her feel victimized. “They made it seem like my assault was completely my fault,” she said.
The rape has been spotlighted in a case alleged against the school by a former assistant dean, who’s accusing UNC of under-reporting sexual assaults. It is one of three cases the dean is using as evidence in his claim. Gambill’s inclusion in the case may result in her expulsion.
She received a formal accusation from UNC’s “Honor Court” on Feb. 22. It read:
“Accordingly, you are being charged with the following Honor Code violation(s):
II.C.1.c. – Disruptive or intimidating behavior that willfully abuses, disparages, or otherwise interferes with another (other than on the basis of protected classifications identified and addressed in the University’s Policy on Prohibited Harassment and Discrimination) so as to adversely affect their academic pursuits, opportunities for University employment, participation in University-sponsored extracurricular activities, or opportunities to benefit from other aspects of University Life.
This decision was reached because the evidence provides a reasonable basis to believe that a violation of the Honor Code may have occurred. Please note that being charged with a violation does not imply guilt. It simply means that sufficient evidence of a possible violation exists to warrant a hearing before the Undergraduate Honor Court.”
Here’s where the issue arises: Gambill has never identified her rapist publicly. He is still a UNC student and lives across the street from her. Situations that protect assailants and highlight victims perpetuate rape culture, according to Jessica Valenti, author of Yes Means Yes. “Rape is a standard result of a culture mired in misogyny, but for whatever reason—denial, self-preservation, sexism—Americans bend over backwards to make excuses for male violence,” she explained to The Nation.
Colleges are a central location for the perpetuation of rape culture. Gambill is just the latest in a series of institutional prejudices against rape victims.