Jan. 26, with the hope that sharing her story would ignite a call for change in a system that failed her, Creighton senior Cassie Weck published a blog post titled “I Am a Lover…but I’m also a fighter.”
In this post, Weck described the night she was sexually assaulted by a man she’s known since her freshman year of college and the disastrous way in which Creighton University chose to handle her case.
“I had a choice to fight against the system I had so little faith in, and I decided to report, hesitant as ever,” Weck wrote in her blog post. “I know how these things go.”
Rather than reporting the incident to the police, Weck said the university had assured her they could handle the case internally, so she “decided to have a little bit of faith in the school.”
After weeks of meetings with the Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), the perpetrator was found not responsible for the attack. Disheartened and discouraged, Weck didn’t give up.
“I did hours and hours of research within the five days in which I had to write the appeal, and I wrote a carefully crafted seven-page, single spaced appeal to the interim provost, Dr. Tom Murray,” Weck said.
Murray responded with a two-page letter denying Weck’s appeal.As of the publication date of this article, Murray has been unavailable for comment.
“I appreciate the work you put into this appeal and thank you for giving me the opportunity to review this case,” Murray wrote in the letter. “While I know this is not the outcome you hoped for, I wish you all the best for a productive and peaceful Spring Semester.”
With the man who allegedly raped her living on Creighton’s campus, the idea of a “peaceful Spring Semester” is unlikely for Weck.Weck did something many victims of sexual assault choose not to do, she reported the incident, and in response the university not only failed to acknowledge the assault happened, but punished her for breaking Creighton’s opposite gender visitation policy.
“I received a letter in my file of employment on campus,” Weck wrote. “What did he get? Nothing. He has resigned and still has a glowing file as an RA.”
Jessi Hitchins, Gender and Sexuality Resource Center (GSRC) director at UNO said that 86 percent of people who are sexually assaulted know their attacker, which can lead to victims being less likely to report an incident.
Hitchins also wants students to know their resources, and to be aware that the GSRC is respectful and confidential.
“Title IX is about making the campus safe, they do a very good job and are very nice when working with people, but it’s a different system focused on how the incident impacts the campus,” Hitchins said. “Whereas the GSR focuses on the healing process for that victim.”
Weck’s case has brought to light the broken system in which sexual assault cases are sometimes handled on college campuses. Hopefully, Weck’s brave choice to speak out combined with the dedication of people like Hitchins to help and protect victims of sexual assault will inspire a change in policy.
In the meantime, Weck has some advice for students who may go through a similar experience: “If it occurred at Creighton, do not report through the VIP Center or OEI. Go to the police.”