“Hidden, Underground”: Lingering Concerns After Viral UConn Protest

Protests, brought about by the campus’s rates of sexual assault, have swirled around the University of Connecticut since Alexandra Docken’s viral protest in February of her rape investigation. UConn’s subsequent investigation has raised questions and prompted distrust among some prospective students. In the most recent Clery crime report from the university, taken in 2020, there were seven reported cases of rape on the main Storrs campus and five cases of sexual harassment on the UConn Health campus in Farmington. Docken, from Cockeysville, Maryland, told Hearst Connecticut Media that she filed a Title IX complaint with UConn after she was sexually assaulted by a male student at an off-campus party in August 2021. She said she was discouraged by the school’s investigation of her claim and said there should be “major changes” in how these cases are handled.

Collecting Evidence Of Sexual Assault Is Not A DIY Project

In theory, a do-it-yourself rape kit, where a victim of rape or sexual assault collects evidence in the privacy of his or her home, seems like a good idea. Going to the police or a hospital after a rape is immeasurably difficult for some. There’s a stigma, and victims may fear mistreatment at the hands of law enforcement or hospital personnel. But advocates and others say newly introduced home rape kits are roughly as useless as the boxes they come in. There’s no guarantee self-collected evidence is admissible in court, and the kits aren’t nearly as comprehensive as those offered by the state.

Military Sex Assault Survivor Fights Discharge Status

Bianca Cruz’s Navy career started with a job she loved on a ship in Japan, but after she was sexually assaulted by a sailor, her military life spiraled downward, ending with a “bad paper” discharge after serving 20 months. “If it weren’t for the sexual assault, I would still be in Japan,” said Cruz, 22, a Navy hospital corpsman, who returned home in November 2015. Cruz is among the thousands of sexual assault victims who have been pushed out of the military with a less than honorable discharge, according to a Human Rights Watch report released in May, Booted: Lack of Recourse for Wrongfully Discharged US Military Rape Survivors. The Navy diagnosed Cruz with a “personality disorder,” which the Rights Watch report said the military regularly uses to trigger quick dismissals of sexual assault victims.

Cruz is appealing to the Navy Discharge Review Board, requesting that her discharge status be upgraded from general (under honorable conditions) to honorable. Her current discharge status prevents her from receiving G.I. education benefits and re-enlisting in the military.