Two Atlanta colleges are investigating an anonymous rape claim that has drawn widespread attention since it was shared on social media.
Students from Morehouse and Spelman colleges rallied in support of a Twitter user who shared the allegations in a stream of tweets Monday. @RapedAtSpelman appears to be a female freshman at Spelman College, an all-women’s historically black college.
She claims she was raped by four students from neighboring all-men HBCU Morehouse College. In a statement obtained through a Morehouse student activist on Thursday, the woman said the incident occurred in the fall. When she reported the incident, she claims, a Spelman dean told her she should “give them a pass” and the school mishandled the report.
The revelations sparked campus demonstrations on Tuesday; social media users rallied in support using the hashtags #RapedAtMorehouse and #RapedAtSpelman.
Both schools said they have been unable to identify anyone potentially involved, including the accuser. Atlanta police told CNN they have no knowledge of the incident and it is not investigating the case. Despite the lack of information, both schools said they are taking the claims seriously. Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell said she has reached out to the Twitter user and encouraged anyone with information to come forward.
“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.”
Morehouse President John Silvanus Wilson Jr. said the information shared on Twitter was the first time the school learned of the alleged incident. Morehouse is “determined to pursue the investigation to the fullest extent possible,” he said.
“Morehouse is determined to create, shape and maintain an environment where victims are supported and feel free to report any incident of sexual assault, trusting that they have Morehouse as an ally. We are determined to change the culture on and around campus, and ‘get right’ a problem that has confounded the industry of higher education and the country,” he said in a statement.
In her statement, the woman stood by her story and her decision to stay anonymous. She said she will speak to the administration when she’s ready.
“I decided to remain anonymous because Spelman College and Morehouse College do not support or help survivors,” she said.
“People have been more focused on knowing my name instead of fighting against the issue of sexual assault. This is bigger than me. It’s bigger than the hashtag. This is about holding our institutions accountable for what they do.”
@RapedAtSpelman claims that four students from Morehouse took turns raping her at a party. When she reported the incident, she claims, it took the school a month to get back to her.
“When I got to the meeting with the Dean and Public Safety they asked me what was I wearing, why did I separate from my friends and 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,” according to the tweets.
The incident led her to start harming herself and contemplate suicide, she said. As a result, she said she plans to leave Spelman.
“I don’t want to be at a school that does not make me feel safe and wants to silence me,” she said.