Activism

“Unacceptable Acceptance Letters” Campaign Shows Harsh Reality About College Campus Rape

The Unacceptable Acceptance Letters are raising awareness about college campus rape through shocking videos.

Credit: National Organization For Women

Credit: National Organization For Women

If you’ve been paying attention, it’s no secret that sexual assault on college campuses has been on the rise, but if it were up to the colleges themselves you would never hear about it.

The Unacceptable Acceptance Letters Campaign is a program dedicated to raising awareness about the violent truth surrounding college campus sexual assaults, using videos to shock viewers into seeing the reality of what many college students experience.

The reality is that 1 in 5 women and 1 in 16 men will be sexually assaulted in college. If that seems terrible to you, it’s because it is, but as one victim points out,

“My rape was bad, but the way I was treated after was worse.”

As the campaign reports, many colleges across the nation continue to underreport or completely ignore such assaults as a way to keep their sexual assault statistics down and encourage more students to attend their school. They essentially punish the victim further by making their reputation as a college a priority over the violence that occurs amongst their own students.

In the “Unacceptable Acceptance Letters” videos, high school seniors and transfer students are shown in a home video-style as they open their acceptance letters to their dream colleges. What starts as moving moments between parents, their children, and their friends turns into something dark, as their acceptance letters are actually filled with the harsh truth of what they are really getting when these students accept admittance.

Credit: NYU Local

Credit: NYU Local

The videos feature brutal messages that come from the experiences of victims who have come forward about their sexual assault and how their college handled their situation. From those messages, these are some stories that stand out:

“Your year should be filled with exciting experiences, which includes losing your virginity to a rapist. Here’s a hint: He won’t be a stranger.”

“Prepare for a challenging year ahead, as you’ll be raped in your first semester and as a result attempt to end your own life in the next.”

“We are delighted that you have chosen us, but we won’t choose to protect you from your rapist this coming fall. We’ll only suspend him for a single day, then you’re on your own.”

“You’ll soon be given a key to your dorm where a fellow student will rape you when you’re all alone, becoming his third victim.”

“We are happy to inform you that you have been granted an athletic scholarship. We know that you will make us proud, especially when you witness a girl being raped by a star quarterback and don’t report it. Team players keep their mouths shut!”

These may be morbid, especially when placed inside a seemingly cheerful video, but the true morbidity is the fact that the number of “forcible rapes” that were reported at four-year colleges increased 49% between 2008 and 2012.

As far as reporting from colleges goes, studies have found that colleges frequently underreport or even report a number of “0” for sexual assaults when they are not being audited by the government on their crime rates. Corey Rayburn Yung, a lead researcher on a study that found these conclusions last year, said, “The study shows that many universities continue to view rape and sexual assault as a public relations issue rather than a safety issue. They don’t want to be seen as a school with really high sexual assault numbers, and they don’t want to go out of their way to report that information to students or the media.”

The essence of the campaign is to let students know that, when it comes to college, “If they accept you, don’t accept rape.” They urge students to demand accountability from their schools by signing the petition to raise awareness about the reality of sexual assault on college campuses.

Watch the video below for a glimpse into the campaign’s approach and visit their website here to watch other videos.

What do you think of this campaign to demand accountability from colleges about rape? Please comment on, like, and share this article!


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