Unreported Rape at Notre Dame Raises Questions About the School’s Ethics

She was a pretty St. Mary's freshman, eager to be out on her own and starting her new life at a brand-new college. But a mere three months following the beginning of the school year, Elizabeth Seeberg is now just another rape and suicide statistic.

Back in August, Seeberg came forward to Notre Dame campus police and reported she had been raped in the dorms by a popular football player. She filed a complaint, submitted to a DNA kit, and was offered immediate counseling. But that's where it ends.  Local police were never told, charges were never filed, and Seeberg's alleged rapist continued to play football and went unpunished.  In the months that followed, Seeberg's history of anxiety disorders and depression grew more pronounced, culminating with an apparent drug overdose and her resulting death in November.

While this is a really sad story, what's even worse is the fact that Elizabeth's situation is not uncommon. Depending on where you go to school, some universities don't legally have to report sexual assaults or rapes to police if the victim refuses to cooperate. In the instances that a victim DOES move forward with a report, there are no laws that state that his or her rapist has to be suspended from school, barred from going near the victim, or even forced to stop attending the same classes or functions until the case is resolved.

Recent findings have shown that East Coast schools have the worse record when it comes to protecting college rape victims, and that little is being done to shield those that bravely come forward to report sexual assault.

So while Notre Dame remains silent, local police and activists are raising their voices in protest and questioning why a Big 10 football star is worth more to the school than a student that was victimized while pursuing her own dream of success. Perhaps these Fighting Irish should question what they're really fighting for to begin with.

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