Editorial: At Loyola, victims of sexual violence don’t have to hide

In spite of what you might have read or heard, Loyola is a safe place to come forward about sexual violence

April 16, 2016

If you have ever been a victim of sexual violence, you can feel comfortable coming forward about it at Loyola. The system is not rigged to be against you.

Pursuing justice on any issue — let alone sexual assault — cannot be easy. Every retelling of the event can open the wound left by the senseless violence of others. No system can ever completely account for that, and no process will ever undo what happened.

Despite that, the procedure of handling sexual assaults at Loyola is honest, fair and minimizes the harm that could come from coming forward about instances of sexual violence. That is why we encourage victims to come out of hiding and start the healing process, whether it be through counseling or reporting the crime to police.

Some people might not want to file a police report immediately. In that case, they can go to University Counseling and speak with someone about what happened. University Counseling does not share that information with anyone: police, the Women’s Resource Center or student conduct. It’s kept entirely confidential and separate from your academic and disciplinary record.

If someone doesn’t want to speak with police, a counselor or an administrator, there are also students who have been trained by the Women’s Resource Center, LUPD and Sexual Assault Nurse Examiners who people can talk to instead. It might be easier to talk to a peer, so that option is provided.

Loyola takes pains to accommodate survivors in every way possible, so if you or someone you know is considering coming forward, it’s safe to do that.

If you want to file a police report and pursue justice in that way, the process is set up to make that as easy on you as possible while still finding all the truths about what happened.

After coming forward to police — LUPD or NOPD, depending on who you want to investigate it — Loyola makes sure that you’re protected before they begin their investigation. That can be anything from allowing you to change your residence hall to having a separation order in place. If you’re having difficulty in a class, they’ll make sure that your professor gives you leeway on absences or late assignments. The university will work with you to make sure you’re taken care of.

Survivors can participate in some parts of the investigation process or not participate at all. It isn’t necessary for you to be involved in the disciplinary process at all, in which case Loyola would continue with the case and inform you about the results of the hearing, the charges, the sanctioning and all other details of the case — so you don’t have to be involved if you don’t want to.

Sometimes, people don’t want to come forward about sexual violence because they think the system is rigged to be against them. While it’s fashionable to assume that about Loyola, there is absolutely no reason to think that. Loyola has these resources and procedures available to help survivors cope and seek justice — not to sweep the crimes of their perpetrators under the rug.

Sharing articles on social media or circulating conspiracies among the student body about the evils of the system does not help victims of sexual violence. Instead of being down on Loyola for not handling sexual assaults well, it benefits survivors much more to learn about the many options Loyola gives its students. Help us let the survivors of sexual violence be aware of those options so that they know at Loyola, they don’t have to hide.

The editorial represents the majority opinions of The Maroon’s editorial board and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Loyola University. 

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