Content warning: Sexual assault, rape
On Wednesday, February 9th, hundreds of UConn students gathered outside of Rowe Center at 11 am for a walkout in protest of the University’s mishandling of rape and sexual assault on campus.
Chants of “Silence is violence”, “We deserve care”, and “UConn do better” were amplified by a megaphone and the passionate voices of the crowd.
The event was coordinated by UConn student organizations such as Revolution Against Rape, UNCHAIN, and PowerUpUConn. Planning began after a lone student named Alexandra Docken stood outside Rowe on February 3rd in the rain with two signs. One reads, “I was raped and UConn silenced me.” The photo of Docken below went viral on Instagram (72,000 likes). Students reposted it to spread Docken’s message and show support.
The February 9th walkout included inspiring speeches and chants from students. Many students held posters.
Students shared similar sentiments of frustration with the way UConn handles sexual assault cases. A major theme was the belief that UConn issues “politically correct” statements about sexual assault but does not take serious action or invest time and money into better care and support.
Students also brought up the issue of broken emergency blue lights on campus. Many students felt that UConn cares more about building STEM buildings for future classes than the safety of students currently on campus.
Nell Spinath, a sophomore at UConn, told News 3, “We absolutely need a fundamental restructuring not just of the sexual assault reporting system but of policing here at UConn. The way they conduct investigations is way too systematic. It is not holistic, it is not trauma-informed.” You can watch the full video here.
Timeline of Statistics
- In 2014, UConn ranked first along with Brown University for the most reported rapes on campus.
- In 2016, UConn surveyed students about sexual assault. Of the 1,496 people surveyed, 83 reported they had been sexually assaulted during their time at UConn.
- In 2019, 138 incidents of sexual assault were reported. 13 were investigated. Of the 13, only 4 students received any kind of consequence. This information comes directly from UConn’s 2019 report.
- In 2020, 80 incidents of sexual assault were reported. Only 3 cases were investigated and no violation was found in any of them. Perpetrators did not receive a written warning, expulsion, suspension, or any other type of consequence. This information comes directly from UConn’s 2020 report.
Links to important information
- UConn yearly reports and statistics on sexual violence
- A confidential sexual assault telephone hotline. Call 800.656.HOPE (4673)
- A PDF of online resources available for survivors
- The Victims Rights Center of CT