This week another story of rape and cover-up at Baylor emerged. As you can imagine it is at times depressing, disgusting, and terrifying and it is in no way pleasant but everyone should read it anyway. This comes on the heels of accusations earlier this month that Baylor was at best negligent and at worst actively malevolent in covering up the story and refusing to help a girl who allegedly was raped by Baylor football player Tevin Elliott. And then there was another Baylor football player Sam Ukwuachu who recently served 6 months in prison for sexually assaulting a fellow student.
These women have had their lives irreparably damaged. Their stories make us angry, sad, disgusted, and depressed, and as more and more emerge there is a visceral response, a deep-seated need to exact vengeance and punish not just the perpetrators but those responsible for the perpetrators not being punished in the first place. We look at the people in charge, point at the situation, and demand that it be fixed. Immediately.
But how do they fix it? Beyond that, how do we know when it's fixed? If the problem is a rash of the most horrific but under-reported crime there is, how do you measure when the problem is solved?
Baylor is not special. It is not a consortium of evil men and women meeting on a regular basis in an underground lair and deciding to cover up rape reports and poison Lake Waco. They are a group of human beings, flawed like the rest of us. As a member of a large organization it is easy to subconsciously feel that your actions are the actions of the organization and not ones for which you may be held personally responsible. All it takes is one well placed, genuinely misguided individual and a host of people who want to do their job, not get involved in anything unpleasant, and get home to their families.
That is not to excuse those people, but it is important to realize that they are not special and the ugly fact is that this blinder culture could as easily crop up anywhere. Some point to Baylor's status as a private institution as an indicator that they are more capable and therefore more likely to keep unpleasant facts secret, however those people need only look so far as Penn State to understand what despicable things public institutions are willing to attempt to pack into a hall closet to make you think their house is clean.
Also, this latest accusation is hardly a police report or signed testimony. It is a blog post, the legal equivalent of standing on a corner in New York City with a megaphone and shouting your story to the throngs of people walking by. You know that the odds that anyone both could and would help are slim, but maybe there is still catharsis in knowing that your story was heard, finally.
So as these allegations take to the modern news cycle, the instinct for Baylor fans to circle the wagons is understandable. After all, the people most vocally pointing out your flaws are the ones you already have decades of experience hating, albeit for truly important reasons like physical location or the ability to catch a ball. So as this story progresses, it is helpful for people on both sides to imagine their feelings if this was happening to someone else.
How would you feel if this were happening at Texas A&M?
I'd like to think the outrage would not lessen. I hope that answers would be demanded and changes be set in place. I know for a fact that I would seriously consider whether or not my daughter (or son) should attend A&M. I would demand that my school live up to the ideals of integrity that it already does in my heart.
I also know for a fact that some Baylor fans are already doing this, and I implore that those who aren't do.
I don't know how this problem is solved, and I don't know how to measure when success is reached. But for those in charge and those investigating the situation at Baylor, it is long past time to do something. You owe it to your students to do something.