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Has Encouraging Sexual Assault Victims to Come Forward Made Them Entitled?

Posted by Joseph D. Lento | Nov 19, 2019 | 0 Comments

Michigan State University continues to get sued under Title IX. In the most recent lawsuit, a student claims that she was “dissuaded” by school staffers from reporting two sexual assault allegations.

Reading between the lines of the lawsuit, though, reveals just how entitled alleged victims have become, and how much the media and the organizations that advocate for victims have enabled that entitlement.

Michigan State University Sued for Title IX Violation, Again

The lawsuit, which was filed on November 10, claims that members of MSU's Title IX office “dissuaded” an alleged sexual assault victim from making a report.

The student, who identifies herself and is not proceeding under a pseudonym – the normal practice for Title IX cases – says that she approached Michigan State's Office of Institutional Equity to speak with a Title IX investigator about two alleged sexual assaults.

The first had happened the year earlier. She had been dating someone who she claims was physically and emotionally abusive. She claims that she felt threatened when he harassed her over the phone and social media and stalked her around her dorm.

The second incident involved a visit to a friend at a fraternity house on campus. According to the lawsuit, the alleged victim could not remember the time after entering the frat and waking up, upstairs. Groggy and extremely disoriented, she went to the emergency room. She decided that she had been sexually assaulted “based on how her body felt.”

When the Title IX officer heard the allegations, she allegedly tried steering the girl away from making a formal report, pointing out that a formal report could damage the reputations of the people she was trying to accuse.

So the alleged victim sued Michigan State.

Lawsuit Betrays a Disturbing Entitlement

Alleged victims of sexual assault often claim that they are not taken seriously when they report their experiences. This can be a problem because it deters reporting, which indirectly incentivizes sexual wrongdoing – when victims aren't believed from the onset, it insulates aggressors from responsibility and they act accordingly.

Fixing this problem was at the heart of the changes to Title IX law in the past decade. However, this lawsuit suggests that encouraging victims to come forward has given everyone who claims to be a victim a feeling of entitlement. Alleged victims demand to be taken seriously, even when there are signs that their claims should be disregarded.

This particular lawsuit, which is being filed by an alleged victim who is not hiding her name and demands financial compensation, rather than any changes to MSU's Title IX process. It was even reported in the news before Michigan State had been served with it. The two claims in it seem, even on their own terms, fairly weak: The first claims that MSU should pay for a bad dating relationship, while the second alleges a sexual assault but conspicuously does not provide medical documentation, even though the alleged victim went to the hospital.

A very real possibility is that the Title IX investigator heard her complaint and dissuaded her from filing a report because it was evident that there was nothing there. Now she's suing because she feels entitled to support, and demanding money because she didn't get it.

Title IX Defense Lawyer Joseph D. Lento

Joseph D. Lento is a Title IX defense lawyer. Contact him online or call his law office at (888) 535-3686.

About the Author

Joseph D. Lento

"I pride myself on having heart and driving hard to get results!" Joseph D. Lento has more than a decade of experience passionately fighting for the futures of his clients. Mr. Lento represents students and others in disciplinary cases and other proceedings at universities and colleges across the United States while concurrently fighting in criminal courtrooms in Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania counties, and New Jersey. Mr. Lento has helped countless students, professors, and others in academia at more than a thousand universities and colleges across the United States. He does not settle for the easiest outcome, and instead prioritizes his clients' needs and well-being. Joseph D. Lento is licensed in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and New York, and is admitted pro hac vice as needed nationwide.

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