What Privileged Status? Rape Victim Kicked Out Of School For Reporting Her Attacker
After columnist George Will insensitively asserted that being a victim of rape was a coveted status of privilege, many women balked at his suggestion that some students were incorrectly reporting assaults to gain access to the "victimhood."
But few were probably more upset than Wagatwe Wanjuki, who responded to The Washington Post op-ed with a Tweet that talked about how her horrific rape offered her no "survivor's privilege" whatsoever.
By sharing her own story, Wanjuki started another movement through the hashtag #survivorprivilege, with other women coming out to discuss how reporting their rapes actually negatively impacted them, contrary to what Will believed.
In Wanjuki's case, she was a student at Tufts University when she was assaulted on multiple occasions by a student she was in a relationship with.
But when she reported him for a campus adjudication hearing in 2008, college administrators told her that the university legal counsel said they didn't have to take action — so they didn't.
After her attack, Wanjuki's grades began slipping, but not so much so that she was placed on academic probation. So when a dean at Tufts, who Wanjuki said was coincidentally her assailant's academic advisor, told her in the summer of 2009 that she would have to withdraw from school due to academic concerns, she was understandably upset.
Wanjuki has since become an advocate for survivors of sexual assault, and was very confused when Will said that those who reported their attacks were doing so to be conferred special benefits.
As Wanjuki pointed out in her Tweet, all she got by being truthful about the violence another student subjected her to was kicked out of school, thousands of dollars in student loans, and the humiliation of being told she was too stupid to stay in school following a traumatic event.
Where's my survivor privilege? Was expelled & have $10,000s of private student loans used to attend school that didn't care I was raped. — Wagatwe Wanjuki (@wagatwe) June 9, 2014
The #survivorprivilege of being too scared to leave my dorm for fear of running into my perp. — Wagatwe Wanjuki (@wagatwe) June 9, 2014