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Swimmer’s Death Highlights Campus Safety Risks

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The University of Missouri takes center stage today as President Tim Wolfe held a news conference to discuss the possibility of hiring impartial investigators to uncover the hidden truths behind the death of student and swimmer Sasha Menu Courey. Courey committed suicide while residing in a mental health institution in Boston in June of 2011, after allegedly being sexually assaulted by up to three UM football players.

Courey, a native of Toronto, was at the University of Missouri on a swim scholarship. Following the alleged rape, Courey attempted to reach out to campus health and safety personnel, including a rape crisis counselor and campus therapist. In addition to the mental health specialists, Courey also consulted a campus nurse and two doctors. However, these discussions occurred eleven months after the attack that was said to have happened in February of 2010.

Although Courey consulted campus medical officials, because she did not make a formal report, and because her privacy was legally maintained by healthcare laws, her own parents were unaware of the sexual assault until after her suicide. Upon discovering a reference to the assault in an online chat forum with a rape crisis counselor, the University contacted Courey’s parents in an attempt to ascertain their wishes in regard to opening an investigation. The University did not receive a response from the parents, and felt that they had taken the investigation as far as they could. However, in response to an ESPN report on their program, “Outside the Lines”, University President Wolfe has decided to recommend the hiring of independent counsel to investigate the handling of what he calls, “…a tragic situation that’s personal to me.” He adds that “What’s important to us at the University of Missouri is the safety of our students. We take this very seriously.”

Although the sincerity of the university President is no doubt appreciated, many are wondering at the absence of comments from University of Missouri Athletics Department Director Mike Alden. After all, Courey was receiving a scholarship for her participation on the university’s swim team.

The University issued a press release today, attempting to answer a few of the most commonly asked questions concerning the incident at large.

Image via Youtube

Swimmer’s Death Highlights Campus Safety Risks
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  • Huh?

    This article is not written well. I cannot understand the order of events. So I am to believe. That a girl was supposedly raped, 11 months later she talks to school officials, does not make a formal complaint, she then commits suicide months after that, then they found out about the records, and are now doing an investigation?

    Also, you shouldn't say a sexual assault occurs when there is no records or evidence that one occurred. That is being extremely biased. Sure if she would have reported the rape right after it occurred or within a couple of days, then there is a high probability of it being truthful, but 11 months later? You did a good job of saying it is alleged at the beginning of the article but by the end, the allegations have become a sexual assault.

    Also, how could the parents not know about the sexual assault if their daughter was in a mental institution? Don't you think that would come up? So the girl delays telling anyone for 11 months and then the parents don't tell anyone once they know?

    What I am wondering is why does it seem that with rape cases the victims never just immediately go report things? For every other crime out there, the crime has to be immediately reported. You can't wait months. Either a woman is raped or she is not raped. There is no middle ground. There are no "maybes".

    • wygent

      There are many reasons that victims of rape don't report it immediately. The vast majority of men who are raped don't report because they don't want to be labeled as "weak" or viewed as victims or become the butt (no pun intended) of jokes among their peers. (Approximately 60% of the rape victims in the US military are male.)

      Men and women alike fail to report rapes in cases where they were drinking, drunk or doing drugs when the assault occurred. That stems from the obnoxious notion that if you allow yourself to get intoxicated, you deserve whatever happens to you. (Which is sort of like saying that if you cross a street where there is no marked crosswalk, it's perfectly alright for a driver to intentionally run you down.)

      Additionally, women especially are aware of how degrading and humiliating life will be if they file a rape report. Their entire life history and the life history of their entire family will be viewed, reviewed, analyzed, reported, distorted and torn apart by the media and the defense. Even if the woman is totally pure and innocent, her posture, her walk, her clothing, her smile, her speech and her fragrance all become fodder for the prurient stimulation of the viewing public – which often produces more trauma than the original event. Being aware of that truth is frequently enough to dissuade, particularly young, women from going to the police.

      I'm sorry to see so many of the commenters here questioning the victim here. She did nothing to gain either vengeance or notoriety for herself, she did not pursue civil litigation or try to force those who raped her to pay her medical and treatment expenses, she did NOTHING that would make a rational person question her motives. I can only conclude that there are many on this site who have either guilty of sexual assault or are actively considering it, for them to have so thoroughly convinced themselves that any woman who claims to have been raped is either lying or fantasizing. Despicable.

  • Campus Risks

    The biggest campus risk is alcohol. Girls are becoming the new alcoholics on campus. They are getting drunk, screwing, then claiming rape. The evidence of this is overwhelming, but no one talks about it. Drunk sex is not rape. It is drunk sex. Regret is not rape. It is regret. It shouldn't take 11 months to talk to someone or report a rape. I was robbed at a gym once. I didn't wait 11 months to report it. I immediately reported it and it was a terrifying experience.

    • wygent

      So, if you are drunk and somebody grabs you, holds you down, rips off your clothes and sodomizes you till your rectum is torn and bleeding, then pulls up his pants and calls his buddy in to take his turn – that is not rape ? Really??

      How about if you are drunk and pass out on somebody's couch and you wake up with a penis in your rectum and you try to push the guy off, but he hangs in 'till he's finished. I guess you think that's just "drunk sex" – right?

      Jeez you're dumb.

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