Baylor University in Waco, Texas has come under scrutiny after 125 reported cases of sexual assault or harassment over a four-year span are being investigated.
From 2011 to 2015, the number above may just be scratching the surface of the actual amount of cases, which many times have gone unreported.
One of the main focus points of the Baylor sexual assault and harassment crisis has been the football team.
At least 19 football players and as many as 31 of them have been accused of sexual assault or domestic abuse since 2011, with the number being closer to the latter.
While there have been measures taken, such as the firing of then-head football coach Art Briles and dismissal of then-university president Ken Starr in 2015, as well as several players have been convicted or put on trial, no firm quantitative measures have been made by the University to combat the problem.
Psychology Chair and Professor of Psychology at SUNY New Paltz Glenn Geher says that the debacle at Baylor is part of a bigger issue on college campuses.
“Research shows that women in their late teens that are victims of sexual assault are the most likely to show post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and be hospitalized as a result,” Geher said. “Awareness of these issues is really critical, especially on a college campus. Programming about these effects needs to be put into place, as well as targeting male athletes who are so frequently involved.”
In January, a former female student of Baylor sued the university after saying she was raped in 2013.
Her lawsuit alleges that from 2011 to 2014, 31 Baylor football players committed 52 acts of rape including five gang rapes.
The woman, whose identity remains anonymous, claims she was gang raped at a party in early 2013 by then-Baylor football players Tre’Von Armstead and Shamycheal Chatman who had both been previously named in police reports from around that time but were not charged.
With a Div. I school like Baylor having such a huge emphasis put on its sports, it is presumably frightening to come out and report being sexually assaulted by players on the football team, which makes sense since the victims chose to go unnamed and reported this after graduation.
“It makes sense that she came back several years later,” Geher said. “She is obviously still experiencing the effects of the assault and it is still with her so she felt the need to bring it up.”
The way Baylor has handled this situation or a lack thereof, is a prime example of athletes. in college being protected for the sake of the program and a negation of the heinous acts being committed.
However, it is not just limited to sports. Baylor has dropped the ball on reporting incidents or neglecting them altogether campus-wide and while there have been several people in higher positions dismissed, resigned or reassigned, it is just the tip of the iceberg on what needs to be done to prevent this from happening.
“The punishment of perpetrators is very important and everything should be put on the table,” Geher said. “Expulsion, police being as tough as they can and even the cutting of the sports team should all be measures taken if need be.”