Thursday, February 13, 2014

When CYA goes too far. Sharing a sexual assault nightmare Feb 13 2014

“Cover your ass (CYA) or cover your own ass (CYOA) describes professional and organizational practices that serve to protect oneself from legal and administrative penalties, criticism, or other punitive measures.”

“A Rape Response Gone Wrong”

“It is a Sunday afternoon, the Sunday after Thanksgiving, and Fran Lindau gets a call. A student on the semester-long study abroad program she directs in Monteverde, Costa Rica, has been raped during a weekend trip to the beach. A friend of the assaulted woman is calling: she does not wish to go to a clinic, but could Lindau arrange for her to get emergency contraception?”

“From here things are set in motion. After doing some research, including calling a doctor in the U.S. and accessing a Princeton University-sponsored website on emergency contraception, Lindau and her fellow professor and partner Catherine Murray obtain an over-the-counter packet of birth control pills, which can be used in high dosages for emergency contraceptive purposes, as the product known as Plan B is not a legal drug in Costa Rica. Murray purchases the birth control while Lindau drives to the beach to pick up the victim and three other students who had accompanied her there. Upon returning to Monteverde, Lindau asks again if the victim will go to a clinic; again, she declines. Lindau gives her the birth control pills with instructions on the appropriate dosage -- four pills now, another four in twelve hours – and asks her to come to her office first thing in the morning.”

“It is not until lunchtime the next day, until after Lindau has had the opportunity to interview the student and her three friends, that she reports the incident to her supervisor, the executive director of the Monteverde Institute (MVI), Debra Hamilton. Lindau will be reprimanded for this delay, as well as her unauthorized efforts to assist the victim in procuring over-the-counter medication (more on this below); she gets fired Dec. 18. Murray resigns 12 days later, under pressure, after both she and Hamilton express doubts that their working relationship could be remedied by mediation.”

“Yet from Lindau and Murray’s perspectives – and the rape survivor's, too – it was only after the incident was reported to Hamilton that it began to be mishandled. The victim felt harassed by Hamilton into signing a legal waiver and was distressed by her insistence that Monteverde staff would have to report the crime against her wishes – which Hamilton said was her legal obligation though she stressed that neither the victim’s name nor any details of the assault were shared with the police.”

Where to begin on this one: this sort of scenario is not new, but with the growth of electronic media we are able to get informed more readily now. The big universal question is: when dos CYA go too far?

The culture f sexual assault in educational settings is already too large; however, this culture could not exist without a culture of bureaucratic cover-up supporting it! Time and time again, we hear about the victim being victimized twice, the second time coming from clueless, heartless administrators.

Do we not get it? Do we not understand that this is a bad thing and it must stop? This is a shameful stain on education.

Think about our students first, those past, those present, and those if the future.

Dr Flavius A B Akerele III

The ETeam

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please be respectful, thoughtful, and relevant with your comments:))