Allegations of rape and sexual misconduct have plagued two of the most prestigious HBCU’s in the country for years. Last week’s incident was a reminder of that. On Wednesday, signs were placed throughout the campuses of Morehouse and Spelman followed by a protest at the Spelman police station where students accused administrators and law enforcement of covering up sexual assault cases.
CBS 46 reported that Spelman has only one recorded incident of rape since 2014 and just two records of dating violence since 2016. But the #WeKnowWhatYouDid Twitter hashtag suggests that the institutions are more concerned about defamation, than addressing the issue. The reaction to university police removing the signs, one of which named specific Morehouse men as rapists, was that of condemnation and disbelief.
“It’s sad to see how quick y’all are to protect your organization in light of #WeKnowWhatYouDid instead of identifying predator(s) amongst you,” Nia Leilani @RunMeMy40Acres wrote. “If they do not represent the values of your organization, then prove it.”
Signs were planted all over #Morehouse College today accusing some of the male students of raping #Spelman female students. Other signs accused both colleges of covering up the sexual assaults. 😔#Atlanta #Sexualassault #rape #weknowwhatyoudid pic.twitter.com/M4Eg4OfwMy
— Atlanta Black Star (@ATLBlackStar) November 9, 2017
The Atlanta Black Star posted a photo of one of the signs which served as a warning to 10 men that they will no longer be protected.
“Just because your name isn’t on this list doesn’t mean we don’t know,” the sign read. “Your positions won’t keep you safe anymore, your status won’t keep you safe anymore, our silence won’t keep you safe anymore.”
Now that #WeKnowWhatYouDid at Spelman. I will tell you this. My daughter is a freshman at @SpelmanCollege If you do it to my daughter or any other student and I know about it, you will have JAIL to pay. I am a mother, an alumna, and a rape survivor. I never reported. #NotToday
— Kelley Bass Jackson (@ATLinfluencer) November 9, 2017
College Response To The Allegations
Many alleged victims have taken to social media in support of the #WeKnowWhatYouDid movement because they were too afraid to come forward when they were assaulted. Like most rape victims, there is a fear of victim-shaming as well as a perceived lack of support from the school administration. But both colleges insist that they stand firmly against any and all types of violence. Spelman President Mary Schmidt Campbell wrote an open letter in response to the allegations.
“I want to remind everyone that Spelman College has a zero tolerance policy for any type of violence, harassment or unwanted contact,” Schmidt Campbell wrote in part. “Our hearts go out to any members of our community who have experienced incidents of violence, harassment or unwanted contact.”
“ PRACTICE WHAT YOU PREACH MOREHOUSE AND END RAPE CULTURE “ I’m really over rapist apologist #weknowwhatyoudid is a thing and it’s happening and and I️t is necessary. You should’ve thought about your reputation BEFORE you decided that sexual violence was the answer. You should have thought about the the organizations you wanted to join BEFORE you decided sexual violence was the answer. Vandalism and defacing school property doesn’t matter if I️t is GETTING THE MESSAGE ACROSS. Folks twerk and cuss all up in kings chapel , y’all ain’t ever been to a religious service up in kings chapel after NSO but all of a sudden it’s “sacred” I️t wasn’t sacred when Jacquees groped an ADMINISTRATOR I️t wasn’t sacred when freshman stroll teams decided to grind all over the stage that y’all claim is so sacred. Y’all just pick and choose when y’all wanna be for the cause and yall are honestly a part of the problem.
Morehouse College issued a statement as well vowing to investigate all reported incidents of “sexual harassment, sexual assault, violence, and discrimination.” The school reiterated that they have implemented programs to raise awareness of sexual violence on the campus and the penalties for committing these crimes. Morehouse said that they want the victims to report their attackers.
“We encourage anyone who has been impacted by sexual harassment or assault on the Morehouse College campus to come forward and file a complaint or to use our anonymous complaint hotline,” the statement read in part.
My professor released a statement on #WeKnowWhatYouDid to our class, basically revealing that she, too, had been a victim of sexual assault.
The gravity of this hashtag impacts more than just students. Wow.
— Adesuwa 💐 (@seizethade) November 9, 2017
RAINN.org reported that 23.1 percent of female college undergraduates “experience rape or sexual assault through physical force , violence, or incapacitation.” However, at least 80 percent of those assaults go unreported, in part, because these institutions do not all have dedicated resources to support accusers. Eliminating rape culture on college campuses has to be made a priority, but it seems that the collective voices of the victims will have to lead the charge.
I’ll be CRAZY until these dimwits at our universities start acknowledging the fact that this RAPE CULTURE is WRONG AND INTOLERABLE, and we are tired. RAPE.CULTURE.MUST.END. We, as collegiate professionals, have to stop allowing our accusers to get off by silencing ourselves for whatever reason. We, as Women in general. We must hold the FIRE to our university administration to fairly and adequately punish these beasts; these rapists; these sexual harassers. FORGET the “negative light” it brings our institutions of higher learning. We’re talking Humanity here. Where’s yours? Open your mouth and FREE YOURSELF. Scream to the top of your lungs until somebody hears you. Let ‘em call you crazy. But do NOT let them dumb down and devalue your story. Write letters. Seek legal counsel. File a Federal Title IX Investigation. If they don’t hear you in private, start making those documents public. You need help drafting a Federal Title IX complaint against your accuser and your institution? I got you. Mine is a bit lengthy, but it’s a great guide. FIGHT Until the atmosphere begins to shift. SOMEBODY GONE FEEL Y’ALL. Be crazy until they start acting sane. It is INSANE to allow this rape culture to continue. This is not a ‘Her’ issue or my issue or Woman’s issue. This is a HUMAN ISSUE. We are leaving the sidelines and taking our stand on the frontline against rape and sexual assault/ harassment. JOIN THE CONVERSATION. Hashtag #WeKnowWhatYouDid #HearHerTruth #MorehouseCollege #ClarkAtlantaUniversity #SpelmanCollege #SouthernUniversity