This Viewpoint discusses sexual assault and domestic violence on campus. Please refer to the end of the article for on- and off-campus resources.
I want to commend the anonymous authors of last week’s Viewpoint “‘I Could Not Take the Disappointment’: How Georgetown Fails Survivors” for their immense courage and frank assessment of Georgetown University’s priorities. Their stories infuriated me, in part because they were familiar. I’m writing today in hopes that our mistreatment will not be in vain.
When I read Thursday’s Viewpoint, I learned I was one of only four survivors between 2014 and 2017 to have a Georgetown Title IX hearing resolved in their favor — one of four to get justice. For survivors at Georgetown filing a Title IX complaint, I represent the best-case scenario.
I don’t have room in my heart to feel lucky: My heart is all booked up with feeling f–king pissed. The best-case scenario for survivors at Georgetown is pathetic.
I had a verbally, physically, sexually and emotionally abusive boyfriend — also a Georgetown student — for about two years during college. When we split up, he broke into my townhouse, dragged me down the stairs and refused to leave. He stalked me. I could’ve gone to the Washington, D.C. Metropolitan Police Department, but I still recoil at that idea: I didn’t want him to go to jail. I just wanted to be heard. I wanted to walk to class without being afraid. I filed a formal Title IX complaint in October 2014.
Just like that, I was introduced to a side of Georgetown I’d never seen — one that was purposely sluggish and entirely concerned with protecting itself. I’ve written about this ugliness in The Hoya before, so I won’t dwell, but the multitude of unnecessary and infuriating obstructions I experienced is worth noting.
The Georgetown University Police Department discouraged me from reporting. GUPD gave me incorrect information about the difference in scope between a campus no-contact order and a D.C. protection order — the former is only recognized on campus, whereas the latter is recognized across the country; GUPD told me the opposite.
The Office of Student Conduct did not respond to me until I followed up multiple times. Georgetown didn’t even hire a Title IX investigator until 25 days after I filed my complaint — only after my mom threatened to take legal action. I had to bully the OSC into setting my hearing within the 60-day deadline mandated by Title IX regulations set under President Barack Obama.
My abuser was ultimately suspended for two semesters and banned from campus, with the understanding that he would be expelled if he violated these terms. But when he did just that and returned one weekend, the school did nothing. The administration said it had forgotten to give him a map of campus when he was suspended and was thus incapable of responding to the situation as promised.
Does that sound like a best-case scenario? Does it really sound like the best we can do?
It doesn’t to me. Rather, it sounds like one of the many examples of Georgetown’s apparent indifference toward the wellbeing of survivors in its community. Like a school that is, above all, concerned with protecting its own reputation and keeping the peace. Like part of a pattern of behavior that would justify a federal Title IX complaint. It sounds like time to believe the authors of Thursday’s Viewpoint and to prove our belief through action. Like time to organize.
Georgetown gave me dear friends, buckets of knowledge and the chance to write a 70-page thesis on “The Daily Show.” There’s a lot I love about the place. But I believe it can do better, and I believe it is the Georgetown community’s job to insist that it does. I hope you believe that too.
Emlyn Crenshaw graduated from the College in 2015.
Resources: On-campus confidential resources include Health Education Services (202-687-8949) and Counseling and Psychiatric Services (202-687-7080); additional off-campus resources include the D.C. Rape Crisis Center (202-333-7273) and the D.C. Forensic Nurse Examiner Washington Hospital Center (844-443-5732). If you or anyone you know would like to receive a sexual assault forensic examination or other medical care — including emergency contraception — call the Network for Victim Recovery of D.C. at 202-742-1727. To report sexual misconduct, you can contact Georgetown’s interim Title IX coordinator at 202-687-9183 or file an online report here. Emergency contraception is available at the CVS located at 1403 Wisconsin Ave NW and through H*yas for Choice. For more information, visit sexualassault.georgetown.edu.