A Columbia University student is suing her school after she claims apathetic university officials failed to protect her or properly investigate her two alleged sexual assaults—both of which occurred in her Manhattan dorm room.
Amelia Roskin-Frazee, now a sophomore at the Ivy League college, claimed she was raped during her first semester on campus, BuzzFeed News reports. In her lawsuit, Roskin-Frazee said she woke up on October 5, 2015—less than two months into her college career—and found a man pinning her down from behind, raping her. She could not identify the man.
“I felt ashamed of it,” Roskin-Frazee said. “I felt like it was my fault, because why would he target me?”
“I was scared that because I couldn’t identify him,” she continued, explaining why she didn’t immediately report her assault. “Columbia wouldn’t investigate him.
Although Roskin-Frazee did not file a report with the university initially, she did seek medical treatment and psychological counseling. The then-freshman also sought help moving out of her dormitory. However, according to her lawsuit, the Sexual Violence Response Hotline nurse at the time never informed Roskin-Frazee of her “rights and options under Title IX or any ability to receive academic or housing accommodations.” When she attempted to move out of her dormitory, the complaint says the school told her she’d need to move out with just 24 hours’ notice, pay $500 and alert her parents as to the reasons for her change of housing.
This was enough to deter Roskin-Frazee from changing dormitories. According to her complaint, she also had to take it upon herself to inform her professors of the alleged rape in order to receive some leniency for classwork.
In early December, Roskin-Frazee claims she was again raped in her dorm room.
The complaint alleged that a man pushed her to the ground as she was entering her dorm room. He then, according to the lawsuit, removed Roskin-Frazee’s clothes—using her underwear and an iPhone cord to tie her hands above her head, and using her own shorts to gag her.
“Still a dyke?” The man whispered to Roskin-Frazee, according to the lawsuit, while penetrating her with a hairbrush, a pair of scissors and a razor. It was dark, so she couldn’t identify her assailant. But she believed it to be the same man who assaulted her in October.
Roskin-Frazee was treated the next day for vaginal tearing, cuts on her thighs and bilateral wrist sprains.
Just a few weeks before, Roskin-Frazee reported her rape to Columbia’s Executive Vice President for University Life. However, the lawsuit claims the official never forwarded the complaint to the Gender-Based Misconduct Office.
Following her second assault, university officials said they would not be able to investigate the crime if she couldn’t identify the assailant. Roskin-Frazee claimed that she would come across threatening and harassing messages on her dorm’s bulletin board, including “Isn’t it fun to wake up to someone fucking you?” and “I’ll buy you a new phone charger.”
Finally, nearly a year after her first assault, the university opened an investigation in September 2016—only to be concluded a month later.
“To be blunt, I’m suing Columbia because I’m angry,” Roskin-Frazee told BuzzFeed News Tuesday. Her lawsuit claims the university didn’t interview anyone in her dormitory, nor review swipe logs or security camera footage due to the time that had elapsed.
— Amelia Roskin-Frazee (@ARoskinFrazee) March 21, 2017
School officials declined to comment on the truthfulness of the claims to various news outlets. “None of this diminishes the deep concern we feel about any allegation of assault on our campuses,” said university spokesman Robert Hornsby in a statement.
This isn’t the first time the Ivy League university has been accused of mishandling sexual assault cases. In what may be the most famous instance of this, student Emma Sulkowicz carried a mattress on her back in protest against her accused rapist, who was never disciplined and allowed to remain on Columbia’s campus.
According to Reuters, around two dozen Columbia students filed Title IX complains with the department of education over the issue. The department still has four open cases involving the school, while 229 U.S. colleges are currently under investigation for sexual violence-related Title IX violations.