TO THE EDITOR:
In the wake of allegations of mishandling sexual assault reports on campus, I am angered and saddened by UNC’s recent decision to send out the Alert Carolina message, “Police File Charges for False Report of Recent Sexual Assault.”
The message states that it was “a non-UNC student” and that “no Alert Carolina notification was made in the wake of the (original) alleged incident.”
So why send out a notification of false reporting charges?
The original incident didn’t warrant a message. The person involved was not a student.
There’s obviously no safety concern to the UNC community.
What is UNC trying to accomplish with this notification? Regardless of UNC’s intent, it feels like a warning.
A warning that you had better be telling the truth, that people who report sexual assault will be thoroughly investigated to make sure they aren’t lying.
It feels like an attempt to make reporting even more uncomfortable than it already is, veiled behind a supposedly legitimate campus notification.
Many victims of sexual assault already worry whether they will be believed — this notification furthers that fear.
This announcement has no value, safety or otherwise, to the UNC community.
It only contributes to creating a campus atmosphere where sexual assault victims are fearful to report because they don’t think they’ll be believed. It supports and confirms stereotypes that sexual assault victims fabricate their assault.
If UNC wants to change the campus atmosphere around sexual assault, it needs to use better judgment in the messages it presents.
Sarah Marsh ’12
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