The administration at Phillips Exeter Academy located in New Hampshire took a ridiculous approach to handling a sexual assault situation that occurred on their campus.
Chukwudi "Chudi" Ikpeazu, a track star attending the private high school, was accused of groping one of his female classmates named Michaella Henry.
In response, the school minister ordered him to bake her bread every week and deliver it to her through the end of the school term.
This “punishment” is problematic for a multitude of reasons, but one that particularly sticks out is the fact that it forced Henry to relive the trauma she endured over and over again.
According to Mic, Henry began having sudden panic attacks following the ordeal. The bread delivery arrangement only added to her stress.
"I was being reminded once a week that he assaulted me," Henry reportedly told the Boston Globe's Spotlight team.
The school tried to diminish the seriousness of a sexual assault by attempting to foster a “friendship” between the attacker and the victim.
If this is how a prestigious school with many resources at its disposal handles sexual abuse, there is little hope for the eradication of rape culture in our society.
"You did a great service for Chudi, because you gave him an opportunity to express his regret and to take responsibility for what he had done," The Rev. Robert Thompson — who facilitated the bread-baking arrangement — reportedly wrote to Henry.
Eventually, Henry could take no more, so she went to the police. Ikpeazu was arrested in June and his arraignment is set for August, Mic reports.
What’s even more disturbing is that this is not the first or even the second time that Exeter has been condemned for mishandling sexual assault situations.
While this situation is truly disturbing, covering up rape and sexual assault on university campuses is a widespread issue — especially as they involve star athletes.
The case of a Stanford University swimmer, who was found raping an unconscious woman, incited national public outrage after the rapist was ordered to serve only six months in prison for his actions.
While there have been many efforts made by student organizations, celebrities, and even the White House to combat sexual assault on college campuses, the nonchalant attitude that administrators and law enforcement often exhibit only perpetuate rape culture.
Furthermore, it solidifies the disgusting notion that “stars” are above the law.
Henry was right to go to the police and blow the can open on her school’s attempt to sweep such a serious incident under the rug. She — along with every other woman —deserves to feel safe where she lives, works, and goes to school.
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