Yale has had a troublesome history of bungling sexual harassment cases.
This history continued with a case that came to light early last week, via a story in the Yale Daily News.
On March 22nd, 2013, a male and female undergraduate at Yale had sexual intercourse. The female was drunk. The male was not.
Thirteen months later, the female student filed a complaint with the Title IX funded University-Wide Committee of Sexual Misconduct. The female student told the Committee that the sex was not consensual.
In the September and October months, the Committee hired a fact-finder to investigate whether or not the male Yale student in fact had intercourse with the female student against her will.
On the night of the incident, the female student was drinking and playing games in her dorm with her friends. She received a text message from the male student that evening. The female student had been previously involved in a brief exclusive relationship with the male student that last fall. They had agreed days earlier to end all sexual contact. Both students acknowledged that the male student still had strong romantic feelings towards the female student that she did not share.
The texting continued, with the female student eventually admitting that she was "tipsy" before relocating to another room in the dorm. This was at 8:45 PM. The students continued to text, while the female student continued to drink.
At 9:45 PM, the female student texted:
"I'm so hammered I can't even…"
The male student responded:
"Make sure to keep texting me though, you're clearly pretty trashed and I wanna make sure you're okay : )"
At this point, alarm bells were going off in the female students head. Because the students had sex before while intoxicated, and this was a sexual relationship she no longer wanted, the female student took a different approach.
""Don't let me try to seduce you though," she texted, "Because that is a distinct possibility."
The male student evidently interpreted these texts as an invitation. This should have not been the case, as the next text from the female student was:
"I mean … sex is awesome, and I might try to get it from you. But I shouldn't. I don't think..."
The male responded that he was interested sexually, that sex was not a "big deal." After not receiving a response for several minutes, the male student continued that his roommates were gone and that his bed was looking "comfy."
The female student retorted that:
""None of my roommates are here and I'm too hammered to make it to [your dorm]. Is this a bad idea…"
"Nope," the male student said. "cause I'm gonna wear your favorite outfit : ) I'm on my way."
After telling the male student to meet her at her room, the female student went home. The female student said she was looking to have a conversation with the male student, who, when denied intercourse, became volatile and emotional, so much so that he would begin screaming and crying. This made her uncomfortable. According to her account, she was too intoxicated to do anything else.
In the male students written response, once the female student arrived to the dorm, she began kissing him, undressed herself, and became an active participant in sex. According to the female student, she does not remember anything but stumbling back to the dorm and the sex act happening. She woke up, ashamed, and sobbed with her back turned from the male student. The female student, in her estimate, was too intoxicated to give consent.
The female student also expressed that she had felt pressured into doing unwanted sex acts, or having sex itself, numerous times in her relationship with the male student.
When she returned to Yale for the 2014 school year, the female student realized that she would see the male student around campus and that he too, would be returning to Yale.
The Yale Daily News writes:
"Once she realized that she would see the male student around campus when she returned full-time in the fall, she visited the Sexual Harassment and Assault Response Education center..."
The female student also then decided to file a formal complaint.
In October 2014, she had her formal hearing.
On October 31st, Yale gave their findings. From The Yale Daily News:
"Although the report acknowledged that the complainant had been intoxicated, it found that she had not been incapacitated as defined by Yale's sexual misconduct policy and thus did not lack the ability to make or act on considered decisions."
The student was "floored."
She said to the Yale Daily News:
"In the end, the message I got was, 'If you'd had one more shot of vodka, it would've been rape...sorry. Drink more next time.'
This is another chapter in Yale's troubling history of protecting the perpetrator in lieu of the victim in regards to sexual assault and violence. Who does the system truly protect? If this male student was screaming and sobbing, and reacting poorly when he did not get his way sexually, that amounts to manipulation and coercion.
Yale must stop failing student victims of sexual assault and sexual violence.