Liberty University: Evangelical Virginia school accused of punishing raped students

Victims were 'forced to sign document saying they broke school rules for premarital sex if they wanted to report rape'


                            Liberty University: Evangelical Virginia school accused of punishing raped students
Liberty University is accused of punishing students who reported they were raped or sexually assaulted (LU's website)
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Considered as one of the country's top evangelical institutions, Liberty University, Virginia, has fallen into trouble. A dozen of former students have banded together to sue the university claiming that administrators made it "difficult or impossible" to report sexual assault because the organization believes in punishing women for "pre-marital sex". The Christian university, co-founded by Jerry Falwell Sr would penalize young women who came forward, claiming that the women violated the "Liberty Way", the lawsuit states.

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Speaking of unspeakable atrocities prevalent on school campuses, Paris Hilton spoke about the abuse she endured at Provo Canyon, Utah,  describing her experience as "torture". She was at the Institute for 11 months and speaking about her time there, she said, "It was supposed to be a school, but (classes) were not the focus at all. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed, it was all day screaming in my face, yelling at me, continuous torture." Former makeup mogul and a student of the problematic institution at some point, Kat Von D said, she was strip-searched at the school and revealed that the administrators sedated or even isolated students who acted out. Judge Rotenberg Center school for students with disabilities in Massachusetts came under fire for using electric shocks on their students as a form of punishment. 

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Liberty University accused of punishing raped students

According to a report, women who attended the university were punished if they reported rape or incidents of sexual assault. It is alleged that the organization forced the students to admit they consumed alcohol and fraternized with people of the opposite sex. The 'Liberty Way' prohibits students from "being in any state of undress with a member of the opposite sex."  The code says, "The goal of the 'Liberty Way' (Student Honor Code) is to encourage and instruct our students how to love God through a life of service to others. The way we treat each other in our community is a direct reflection of our love of God." 

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Coming to pre-marital sex, the Liberty Code mentions, "Sexual relations outside of a biblically-ordained marriage between a natural-born man and a natural-born woman are not permissible at Libery University." According to a report, a student who reported being raped to the administration had to shell out $500 in fine for consuming alcohol and was sent to counseling. She was reportedly told her transcript wouldn't be released until she paid the penalty. ProPublica reports it was a pattern with the school where they discouraged rape victims from reporting their ordeal. 

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Elizabeth Axley told the outlet she was raped during her freshman year in 2017. At an off-campus Halloween party, Axley consumed eight shots of vodka and a couple of other drinks. She woke up the next morning with another student on top of her and his hand against her mouth. She reported the incident to the campus police department after returning to her dorm. She was driven to a local hospital where a nurse documented 15 injuries on her arm, face, and torso. After returning back to her dorm, she spoke to her resident adviser who told her not to report the incident for fear that she would be punished for violating the 'Liberty Way'. 

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Another student Diane Stargel alleged she was raped by another student at an off-campus party in 2013. She was told by her counselor that she would be needed to sign a "victim notice" which would require her to shell out various penalties for violating the Liberty Way. Stargel stopped in her tracks in fear of losing her scholarship. "I feel like Liberty bullied me into silence after what happened to me," said Stargel. I've always regretted that I never got my day in court. But at least now I can stand up and say, 'Yeah, that happened to me'," she said. 

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Amanda Stevens reported she was raped in April 2015 after which she was told she could be in violation of the Liberty Way for drinking alcohol and being alone with a man on campus. An investigation was conducted into the matter and it was found that the alleged rapist was "not responsible." Another student Adrianna Rice said she wasn't told about the fact that she could approach the police to report her rape, which is a federal law requirement. "I was never informed that filing a police report was even an option," Rice said. An investigation was launched into the matter and it was found that the alleged rapist was not responsible despite the latter admitting to the crime

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