A lesbian student at Columbia University is suing the school for failing to protect her after she was raped in her dorm room—twice.
Amelia Roskin-Frazee, a college sophomore and LGBT rights advocate, filed the suit in New York federal court Tuesday, accusing Columbia of violating Title IX protections when it inadequately supported her after she suffered two incidents of sexual assault.
Roskin-Frazee says she was first assaulted by an unknown man in October 2015, just two months after she began her freshman year. She told BuzzFeed that she woke up to find her assailant on top of her, eventually passing out due to the immense pain of the assault. When she finally came to, she saw the man leaving her room wearing only his underwear.
After the attack, the young student didn’t immediately file an official report, but did seek out help from multiple university resources. According to the complaint, none of these offices informed her of her rights under Title IX nor did they point her to the school’s own sexual misconduct policies.
When Roskin-Frazee made an appointment with Columbia Medical Services to address the pain from the rape, the suit alleges that the nurse who treated her didn’t ask if she’d been assaulted, but did tell her she “shouldn’t have such rough sex.”
The following week, she called Columbia’s sexual assault response line to ask about academic and housing accommodations, but was told no such accommodations existed. She was then told she should have been on birth control and ought to report the assault to police, according to the suit.
“I felt ashamed,” she said. “Why did he target me? I felt embarrassed I couldn’t identify him.”
When she later reached out to the housing office to see if she could move rooms because she didn’t feel safe, she was told that she’d have to pay $500 and that her parents would be notified. She elected to stay in her dorm.
In December 2015, she reached out to Columbia’s Executive Vice President for University Life about the assault, but her complaint was never sent on to the Gender-Based Misconduct Office.
A few weeks later, she was allegedly attacked again by a man who was waiting for her outside her dorm room. The second assault, which Roskin-Frazee believes was carried out by the same man as the first, was particularly brutal and ended with the rapist allegedly whispering in her ear, “Still a dyke?”
In the days following the attack, threatening notes began appearing on her building’s common bulletin board, including the message: “Isn’t it fun to wake up to someone f*cking you?”
— Amelia Roskin-Frazee (@ARoskinFrazee) September 1, 2016
Following the harassment, Roskin-Frazee made a formal report to university officials, but was told no action could be taken unless she was able to identify her assailant. After months of pressuring the university to open an investigation, the school finally relented and launched a formal inquiry in September 2016, nearly a year after the first alleged assault.
Less than a month later, officials told the student that the school had completed its investigation and had come up empty-handed. According to the lawsuit, investigators didn’t interview anyone, review the swipe logs for Roskin-Frazee’s dorm or watch any security camera footage, saying the tapes had been erased due to the length of time that had lapsed since the attacks.
“To be blunt,” Roskin-Frazee said in a Tuesday news conference. “I’m suing Columbia because I’m angry.”
h/t: LGBTQ Nation