I was listening to The TICKET yesterday morning and they were discussing ESPN’s ‘Outside the Lines’ reporting of additional sexual violence allegations against Baylor football players. Within that segment, George Dunham talked about a popular “blog post” of a Baylor graduate who wrote about her rape while she was a student and the ordeal she went through reporting it. But what was unique is that the attacker isn’t a student-athlete, he was just a “regular” student, so there’s no bias towards protecting athletes or any programs.
Dunham went on to briefly describe the blog post stating how it starts off with a picture of her in cap and gown and another of just her class ring, samplings of older blog posts detailing her love and enthusiasm for the university, and then how she no longer has affection for the school.
I didn’t have any interest in tracking down the blog post, but Dunham speaking about it did get my attention, especially with my wife and her family ties to the university. To be honest, I really don’t know much detail about all the allegations other than the headlines and perhaps an opening paragraph. One thing I kept seeing and hearing on the radio was a “system-wide failure” of what happens when a female Baylor student reports a rape or sexual assault. I really didn’t know what that meant and thought maybe it was just a way to manifest or expound.
After putting the kids to bed, I was browsing my Twitter feed and came across the blog post Dunham mentioned, and now I understand the “system-wide failure” because Stefanie Mundhenk greatly detailed in heartwrenching form. That blog post led me to her other posts about her ordeal and I started to understand the “system-wide failure” which includes reporting it to the Title IX office and then finding out it wasn’t “officially” reported, having to continue encountering her rapist at Mock Trial event meetings and in the hallways since he became a university employee, HR asking her if he could be reinstated, encouraged by Baylor Police to drop the charges, how his sole witness (a roommate) was interviewed but none of her 25 witnesses were, felt coerced to take the option of having a single adjudicator decide her case, having her appeal on 26 counts of procedural unfairness dismissed, meetings and emails between her and Ken Starr, and on and on.
Here’s a sampling from Dear Baylor, I No Longer Have Affection For You.:
- A year ago Saturday, I sat in the audience and watched as my rapist walked across the stage, shook Ken Starr’s hand, and received his diploma. I felt sick, but I still had faith. 3 months later, in August, I walked across that stage, hugged Ken Starr, and received my own. My emotions were a wreck, but I still believed justice would triumph, still believed in my University, still was proud to be a Baylor Bear. I knew that they would help me. I had my hearing a month later, they returned the decision of “not responsible” and then refused to honor my appeal.
- The next day, Ken Starr emailed me and told me that there was nothing he could do about my case according to “University policy”, but that he greatly admired my courage in telling him my story. Well, for him to believe I have courage, it means he believes my story is true. And him telling me he couldn’t help me was a lie – Title IX policy specifically states that the President has final say over all cases. So he believed me, and then lied to avoid helping me.
- My University aided in causing my rape because of their failure to discipline him for prior reported offenses. My University has failed to adequately address their failure in my case and many others.
- Jesus says, “Love thy enemies,” and because I love Jesus, I must LOVE Baylor, just like I must LOVE my rapist – in the most simple way I know how. Without having any sort of special care or affection for them, I still perpetually wish their good. Wishing “their good,” is not wishing them prosperity or an untarnished image – rather, it is wishing them humility. Accountability. Transparency. Recovery. But before any of those things can happen, an admission of wrongdoing is necessary.
- I still love Baylor, but I am no longer proud to be a Baylor Bear. My diploma stays in its drawer. I will spend a lifetime recovering from the ways they failed me, because if it wasn’t for Baylor’s failure – I wouldn’t have been raped at all. I wouldn’t spend Monday mornings in a therapist’s office. I wouldn’t wake up from nightmares almost every night. I would be a different person.
- And I’m just one of hundreds – remember that.
There’s so much to her story, and it’s a lot to read, and it’s hard to read, but her writing pulled me in. I have a much better understanding of why women are hesitant to report rape because she lays it out there, raw, and it resonates.
Here’s all of her blog posts about the topic:
1. I Was Raped at Baylor and This is My Story
2. Ken Starr Should Not Resign
3. Dear Baylor, Your Title IX Changes are Not Enough
4. To Those Who Think I’m Wrong
5. Dear Baylor, I No Longer Have Affection For You.