An anonymous young woman took to social media to tell her story of being raped at a prestigious historically black college, sparking massive debate about the true definition of brotherhood and sisterhood.
The resulting hashtag #RapedbyMorehouse has been trending, conveying a critique which suggests the schools have been more concerned with defending the image of HBCU’s than protecting its students.
The account user @RapedAtSpelman says she had been drinking at an off-campus party when she was gang-raped by four Morehouse students. When she went to report the incident, she recalls being criticized and encouraged to remain quiet in support of her “brothers.”
Here is the story, in her own words, told in a series of tweets:
This is my freshmen year at Spelman and my last year because I decided to leave after what happened to me. I went to a party with my friends there were alot of people there and it was really fun so we decided to drink with the upperclassmen. I was drunk but that doesn’t mean I forgot about what happened. I went to the bathroom upstairs to throw up and when I opened the door I was surrounded by 4 Morehouse students who took me to another room and took turns raping me. I was in shock about what had happened.
After it happened I went to find my friends who had already left the party so I had to walk back to campus by myself. When I got there I went to public safety to do a report and I was sent to the hospital for a rape kit. It took Spelman a month to get back to me about my case. When I got to the meeting with the Dean and Public Safety they asked me what was I wearing, why did I seperate from my friends, & why was I drinking under age.
The Dean also said that Spelman & Morehouse are brother & sister so I should give them a pass. I never felt so worthless in my life. I got so depressed that I wanted to take my own life and I started to self-harm. I don’t want to be at a school that does not make me feel safe and wants to silence me. So I would like to say goodbye to Spelman and to the amazing people I’ve met along the way.
Spelman has taught me to be a free thinking woman and also to be a woman who has to keep her mouths closed to protect her “brothers”. You can NEVER say Morehouse has their sisters back if they are just going to force her on it.”
Its sad that I have to create a page to express myself rather than tweeting from my real account because AUC students blame & bash victims.
— Raped At Spelman (@RapedAtSpelman) May 2, 2016
Since the story went public, students have organized on campus in protest of rape culture and many members of the AUC community have responded with support for the young woman.
— Avery. (@Philosavery) May 3, 2016
However some critics focused on the hashtag’s alleged implication of all Morehouse men as rapists, a claim which others quickly attacked.
I need my Morehouse brothers and sons to understand that #rapedbymorehouse is a call to end campus rape culture, not a universal indictment.
— Marc Lamont Hill (@marclamonthill) May 3, 2016
Once again,Blk women are expected to keep our pain to ourselves for the sake of "unity." #RapedByMorehouse
— LemonClark Media® (@LemonClarkMedia) May 3, 2016
“Our hearts go out to this student and I want to personally offer her our full support and assistance. We are a family at Spelman and we will not tolerate any episode of sexual violence. No student should ever have to suffer and endure the experience she has recounted on social media. Spelman is conducting a full and thorough review of these events.”
The president of Morehouse College, John Wilson has also responded, saying he was “deeply troubled by the allegations.” A spokeswoman for Morehouse said the school had “no knowledge” of the police report or incident but the Office of Campus Safety and the Title IX Office have launched a full investigation.