Although various people and organizations can put together estimates of the number of sexual assaults that take place in a given time frame, it is extremely difficult to come up with an accurate number. Because so many incidents go unreported, it is common for different sources to come up with wildly different estimates and it’s nearly impossible to tell whose estimates are more accurate.
According to a recent lawsuit filed against Baylor University, more than three dozen football players for the university committed at least 52 rapes in a four-year period.
These numbers are much higher than Baylor’s version of events, which currently recognizes 19 players involved in 17 reports of alleged physical attacks since 2011.
The most recent lawsuit, filed by a plaintiff whose name is only give as “Elizabeth Doe,” is just one of at least five such lawsuits filed against the university by women who were allegedly attacked and who claim the school did nothing to protect them or respond to their complaints.
Doe’s lawsuit accused the Baylor football team of perpetuating and thriving on a culture of sexual violence. The complaint describes her rape, and although it does not describe any of the other attacks that allegedly took place, it alleges some of them were recorded and distributed by the players involved.
According to the complaint, Doe was raped by two football players in 2013, and although the incident was reported to the Waco police department at the time, no charges were filed and the players were allowed to remain on the football team. The school allegedly did not investigate her report until 2015, by which time one of the players involved had already transferred. The one who remained was suspended from the team before he was eventually expelled.
Doe belonged to the Baylor Bruins, a campus group that hosted prospective athletes visiting the campus. According to the lawsuit, the university allegedly encouraged the Baylor Bruins to use sex, alcohol and drugs when recruiting prospective athletes, including making members of the Baylor Bruins available for sex with the visiting athletes.
Baylor denies Doe’s allegations of the tactics the Baylor Bruins were encouraged to use and insists the university has made significant improvements towards strengthening security measures since the eruption of the sexual assault scandal last year. According to a statement recently released by Baylor, these improvements include acting on 105 recommendations designed to keep all students safe and restore their faith in the university.
Baylor did conduct an internal investigation into its football program last year and concluded that, not only did the football staff and players not feel the need to abide by the rules that apply to everyone else, but that assistant coaches and staff actively interfered in investigations into allegations of assault by football players.
Whatever measures the school took to discipline its football staff, the women who suffered from assaults that ultimately went unpunished want more. Now it will be up to a court of law to determine if the school did everything it could have to protect all of its students.
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