UConn claims that they have mechanisms in place to ensure the rights of their female students, but I've been through that process, and it's not true. When I reported an assault, they encouraged me to stay silent about what I had seen.
What if, one day, my rapist walks into a room with me? What would I do? How would I react?
I have talked to dozens of Amherst Survivors who prove that my story is not unique. But that is not what many administrations across the county want non-Survivors to know; they want to make sure that Survivors appear to be unique, isolated and crazed.
I have PTSD from hearing more than 100 stories of the same sickening abuse and blatant apathy -- holding dozens of survivors; talking dozens away from suicide. When I was asked how I have PTSD if I'm not a solider, I sank in my chair, ashamed and guilty for claiming a disability that plagued so many of our veterans.
There is little incentive for individual schools to address sexual assault if other universities appear immune to sexual violence. Maintaining an impeccable public reputation is perceived to be of greater importance than confronting painful and damaging problems.
I thought: I must be imagining this. Should I say something? I'm a freshman and he's a leader here, no one will believe me. Shouldn't I be grateful for this attention anyway? If I speak up, I'll look stupid and unreasonable, and I'll be blowing this out of proportion.
What's worse than rape is betrayal. Students are attending schools that betray them, campuses in which violence has become a part of the experience, and in which, despite popular belief, there is no punishment for rape, rather a punishment for coming forward.
Title IX guarantees students' civil right to an education unimpeded by violence and harassment. Our colleges unabashedly took advantage of our ignorance of our Title IX rights -- and this past year's headlines suggest that our experiences are not unique.
Why do so few survivors of sexual assault report their experiences? Many survivors are told that whatever happens to them is their fault, a message which is continually reinforced by friends, media, community groups, and university administrators.
Within the realm of higher education, our society struggles to understand that sexual violence happens not just at other universities, but at our universities.
Not surprisingly, the report's recommendations largely fall short of actually proposing substantive change. We're better off focusing not on changing individual perpetrators but on challenging our culture that supports them.
Steubenville and what is going on at Notre Dame show us exactly what "widespread lack of consequences for sexual assault" means and will continue to mean for children going to colleges and universities in the United States.
Headlines around Steubenville and Dehli have revealed that, while the media are taking a greater interest in covering sexual violence, we as an audience are not demanding that they address it as the bigger picture.