Delaney Robinson, a sophomore at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, held a press conference on Tuesday during which she accused Allen Artis, a fellow student and football player, of raping her. What’s more, 19-year-old Robinson said that while she cooperated with law enforcement and campus officials in the wake of the incident, the school has failed to adequately investigate her allegations.
“My life has changed forever,” Robinson told reporters, “while the person who assaulted me continues as a student and a football player on this campus.”
On Wednesday, Artis turned himself in to authorities. According to CNN, he was released on a $5,000 bond and is scheduled to appear in court on Thursday. He has also been suspended indefinitely from the football team.
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The alleged assault took place back in February at an apartment complex on campus. Robinson says she went to the hospital and was examined by a nurse trained in sexual assaults. A rape kit was administered. She also met with investigators with the school’s department of public safety, whom she says subjected her to “humiliating and accusatory questions.”
What was I wearing? What was I drinking? How much did I drink? How much did I eat that day? Did I lead him on? Have I hooked up with him before? Do I often have one night stands? Did I even say no? What is my sexual history? How many men have I slept with? I was treated like a suspect.
My humiliation turned to anger when I listened to the recorded interviews of my rapist by DPS. Rather than accusing him of anything, the investigators spoke to him with a tone of comradery. They provided reassurances to him when he became upset. They even laughed with him when he told them how many girls’ phone numbers he had managed to get on the same night he raped me. They told him, “don’t sweat it, just keep on living your life and playing football.”
Robinson admitted to drinking that evening, but emphasized, “that doesn’t give anyone the right to violate me. I did not deserve to be raped.”
Robinson’s attorney, Denise Branch, said the district attorney’s office told her in an email on June 2 that they were declining to press charges. In response, Robinson requested “self-sworn warrants” from a magistrate on misdemeanor charges of sexual battery and assault on a female, which is what led Artis to turn himself over to authorities.
Felony charges may still be forthcoming. District Attorney Jim Woodall told CNN that his office’s “investigation is still ongoing.”
UNC, meanwhile, has done nothing so far. Branch said that while the school’s investigation ended three months ago, UNC’s Title IX office has yet to render a decision in the case and “is waiting for results of Robinson’s rape kit to determine her blood alcohol content — something Branch says is a violation of the school’s Title IX policy,” Buzzfeed reported.
— Derek Rowles (@DerekRowles) September 14, 2016
Sexual assault victims frequently decline to press charges and when they do, often request anonymity to protect themselves from public scrutiny and abuse. Robinson said she chose to come forward to try to protect other students from enduring what she has gone through over the past several months.
I did everything a rape victim is supposed to do. I reported it. I allowed the rape kit to be taken. I gave a statement. I cooperated with law enforcement and the Title IX office. But six months later the University has done nothing.
I’m taking this public stand not for me, but for the other students on campus who are not protected, despite what the University tells us. I love this University. It’s my home. I plan on graduating. But I expect the University to fulfill its promises to me and to all students.
UNC’s handling of sexual assault cases has come under substantial criticism in recent years. The school was subjected to numerous federal investigations due to allegations of a “hostile environment” toward victims attempting to report sexual assault, and even reports of inappropriate retaliation against alleged victims. UNC also featured prominently in the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, which investigated the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses and routine failure of university officials to punish assailants and support victims.
The manner in which universities treat sexual assault allegations toward athletes has also been a matter of increased debate and scrutiny. After an investigation detailed Baylor University’s “fundamental failure” to investigate rape allegations, most against football players — in addition to several other high-profile campus sexual assault cases involving athletes — some advocates are turning to the question of how to address the numerous problems at hand.
“I don’t want someone’s life to be ruined, either, but I do think people have to answer for the things that they’ve done,” journalist Jessica Luther said in a recent interview with ThinkProgress about her new book, Unsportsmanlike Conduct: College Football and the Politics of Rape. “ Why don’t you want this guy to be a better guy? Why don’t you want to make sure that man is not going to harm someone else, because he’s been taught to dehumanize women, because he doesn’t understand women, because he’s been taught there’s no accountability.”