Last summer BYU came under scrutiny for how it handles rape allegations. On the one hand you have some young women who reported that after they reported their rapes, BYU opened an Honor Code investigation against them. This can lead to women fearing for retaliation and not reporting rapes for fear of getting in trouble themselves. On the other hand, Dr. Darron Smith of the University of Memphis reports some situations of false rape allegations. How does BYU handle these two complex and sensitive issues? I asked him about some of these allegations last summer.
Darron: If the Honor Code is punishing the young women for something that they had no control over, had nothing to do with, that’s horrible. Again, it speaks to about the athletes. You’re having people make subjective decisions about other people based upon their own lens, their own way of seeing the world which may not congeal with a young woman who has alleged rape.
On the other hand, he is aware of some false allegations too.
Darron: You know when these young players in 2012? In 2004? Whatever, there was white college students at BYU who alleged they had been raped by these kids, these young players, and when it came down to it, they hadn’t been raped. She made it up. So these young guys went through it man. I don’t know if you heard about the trial that went on down here in Provo where this young woman alleged rape?
GT: I don’t know.
Darron: But at any rate, to make a long story short, she was playing off racial fears, that are so deeply ingrained around again, black sexuality. Praise God at the end of the day, truth came out.
The Salt Lake Tribune just came out with an article stating some women aren’t believed, and in one case of a BYU student, Madelaine McDonald, the police refused the press charges, but the young man had sexual assaults on three other women. What do you think about these issues? How would you rate BYU’s handling of rape allegations?