Students Protest BYU's Treatment of Sexual Assault Victims

Students protested in front of Brigham Young University on Wednesday, to draw attention to the rape case of a 19-year-old sophomore and BYU's policies regarding sexual assault.

Madi Barney reported to police that she was raped during a date. BYU, a Mormon university, maintains religious bylaws which can be used to discipline sexual assault victims who may have consumed alcohol or brought a member of the opposite sex to their room. According to The Salt Lake City Tribune, Barney received a notification from the school two months after the alleged assault asking her to report to the honor code office for disciplinary hearing. “We have received information that you have been a victim of behavior that is addressed in the university Sexual Misconduct Policy,” read the letter, “We have also received information that you have engaged in behavior that violates the BYU Honor Code. I would like to meet with you and provide you with the information that we have received and give you an opportunity to respond.”

Since Barney made her case public, she has gained thousands of supporters including many Mormons have been victims of sexual assault in the past. Barney created a petition to grant victims of rape immunity from such punishments and it has been signed by over 90,000 people.

Barney has filed a complaint to U.S. Department of Education, citing Title IX, the gender equity rule that requires schools to report rapes. The public pressure prompted BYU to declare that they will investigate the connection between honor code polices and Title IX.

A more comprehensive report on the case, and protests, can be found at the Guardian.

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