Ending Campus Sexual Assault—For Good

Sarah Berlin | In These Times | May 20, 2014

Five years ago, the Center for Public Integrity (CPI) published a series of groundbreaking reports on how U.S. colleges handle sexual violence. The investigation found that survivors faced a “depressing litany of barriers” to reporting assaults and that assailants rarely receive serious punishments. When Wagatwe Wanjuki, a former student at Tufts University, read the report, it came as life-changing evidence that she was not alone.

“That brought it home that it’s not just me,” says Wanjuki. “Schools are just not doing what they’re supposed to be doing.”

While a student at Tufts, Wanjuki says, she was repeatedly sexually assaulted by an abusive partner over the course of a two-year relationship. She says that she filed a complaint with the university, but the administration dropped her case without formal explanation. Her ex remained on campus until graduation that year. Wanjuki says that Tufts would not provide academic accommodation for her during this difficult time, and her grades began to suffer. Eventually, Tufts expelled her.

Wanjuki is now an organizer at the forefront of a growing movement to change the way that colleges treat sexual assault. In addition to blogging and speaking out in the media about campus sexual assault, Wanjuki is a campaign organizer at Know Your IX, an organization that works to enforce students’ Title IX rights...