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Occidental College Accused Of Discouraging Students From Reporting Rape

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At a press conference yesterday, attorney Gloria Allred announced that her law firm has filed a complaint on behalf of 37 Occidental College students who say that they were raped on or near campus, and that the school failed to protect them or provide them with a way to report their rapes and have their attackers brought to justice.

According to the LA Times, the victims had each been “raped, sexually assaulted, battered, harassed or retaliated against for speaking out against sexual violence." In a separate article, the Times notes that only three rapes that happened on or near Occidental have been investigated by the LAPD in the past three years.

Allred and her clients allege that the campus' policy of handling rapes includes discouraging victims from reporting, and making them feel as though the process of getting justice is too fraught and complicated to bother going through.

According to Eagle Rock Patch, Carly Mee, a young woman who says she was raped in her first week of school, gave the following comment at the press conference:

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“When I told an administrator that I did not feel safe, I was told that I had nothing to worry about, that she had met with my rapist, and that he didn’t seem like the type of person who would something like that,” Mee said.

Graduate Kenda Woolfson alleged that she was told by a campus dean that reporting her rape would be a “long and grueling process," “take a toll on my mental health” and “lose me a lot of friends,” according to Patch.

The complaint is being filed on the heels of students protesting the handling of a rape about two months ago, in which the alleged assault of one student by another student near campus wasn't made public, according to the Times.

University spokesperson Jim Tranquada told the Times that, “We readily admit that Oxy has more work to do, and are vigilantly ensuring our continual progress."