‘Raped at Spelman’ Twitter Increases Scrutiny of Morehouse Rape Culture

An anonymous Twitter account alleging a rape of a freshman Spelman College student by four Morehouse College students is drawing widespread attention on social media, and adding to a growing narrative about sexual assault reporting and administrative response in the Atlanta University Center.

The @RapedAtSpelman account, created last night, publishes details of an assault that took place in an off-campus location. The series of tweets indicates that formal reports were made with public safety and college officials, but that the response was inadequate, and potentially blamed the victim.

In January, BuzzFeed published a long form feature of Spelman students and alumni reports of rape by Morehouse students dating back to the mid 1990s, and a nationwide investigation of colleges and universities accused of mishandling sexual assault allegations.

Shortly after the release of the story, Spelman officials announced a series of administrative initiatives to ease reporting and investigation of sexual assault charges. Morehouse developed similar programming in March.

Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell expressed personal support for the alleged victim, and pledged full institutional support for all survivors of rape and sexual assault.

“Our hearts go out to this student and I want to personally offer her our full support and assistance. We are a family at Spelman and we will not tolerate any episode of sexual violence. No student should ever have to suffer and endure the experience she has recounted on social media. Spelman is conducting a full and thorough review of these events.”

7 comments
  1. There is no “Morehouse Rape Culture”. To suggest such is to indicate Morehouse brothers have a propensity to rape that is substantively different from the larger society. Your headline unfairly taints any and all Morehouse men as being educated in a culture that minimizes rape and blames victims. As a graduate, I personally resent the implication. Rape is a serious topic worthy of serious discussion that seeks to illuminate the dimensions of the problem and how to eliminate this crime from our communities, as well how to support victims without blaming or shaming. Painting every student and alumnus of this venerable institution as being participants of a “culture of rape” is beyond insulting and unproductive.

    1. Thanks for reading. I definitely understand the sensitivity about this topic, but we can’t claim a unique brand of Morehouse success culture, or ‘Mystique,’ and not own up to the unique brand of culture when it comes to scenarios where rape occurs and administration falters when it is reported. Of course rape is a global issue – more prevalent in other parts of the world than it is even in America. However, that’s not to say that there’s no culture at Morehouse, and the incidents here are a small part of the human condition. ‘Rape culture’ doesn’t assign blame to every student and graduate, just like ‘LGBT culture’ doesn’t mean every Morehouse man is gay or transgender, or ‘AUC culture’ doesn’t mean every student is in love with Atlanta.

      What seems to be the construct of rape culture at Morehouse, is that students across several decades are involved in rape. And across that same period, the women who make the allegations are being told that no such thing happened, or that they are somehow responsible, or that ‘Morehouse men and Spelman women don’t get involved in that kind of stuff.’ For this to have played out this way for years, and to now be a public issue where women are courageous enough to attach their names and faces to the issue, or to start accounts detailing the same, indicates that Morehouse, indeed, has a culture all its own which mirrors a bigger global problem.

      Morehouse isn’t the first campus to have to acknowledge and deal with rape culture, but certainly, it is the first HBCU to deal with it on terms of being an elite, historically black unisex college.

      1. Allegations and investigations do not constitute a “culture.” I’m certain you know how dangerous it is to make such a blanket description about a specific institution or group of people. Essentially, you are applying a very slanderous concept to an entire community, while attempting to justify it by saying, “it doesn’t apply to everyone at Morehouse.” If this is the case, why refer to isolated accounts or accusations of sexual assault as a “rape culture” at Morehouse, aligning it with the Morehouse brand and name? Furthermore, how exactly would you know about the “attitudes, perspectives and actions surrounding the issue of rape, exclusively at Morehouse College?” What research or investigation have you conducted to gather such knowledge? Citing a BuzzFeed article that chronicles 4-5 accusations over the past 20 years (only from the perspectives of the accusers) doesn’t suffice. You must present impartial, clear content – that is your own – if you choose to make such slanderous statements. It’s clear what you are doing and your attempt to justify it only makes it more evident. It’s quite unfortunate, to say the least.

        Unless you have evidence to make such a claim of “rape culture,” it is completely inflammatory and untrue to report it exists at Morehouse College. How many Morehouse students have been found guilty of rape allegations since the mid 1990’s? How many sexual assault allegations at Morehouse were reported to police? What are the stats? What evidence or documentation can verify that “rape culture” exists at Morehouse? How many reports of sexual assault became criminal cases involving Morehouse students? Have you interviewed any Morehouse College students to better understand their “attitudes?” Again, where is your research? Be specific. If you’re going to report as a form of media, be prepared to substantiate your reports. Also, I would urge you to do more research before commenting. The current allegation, according to the anonymous accuser, was not reported to Morehouse College, at all. Therefore, the “Morehouse administration” didn’t “falter,” in this case, because it was never reported to them.

        It sounds like you and others would like to assign slanderous behaviors and attitudes to Morehouse Men, Men of Morehouse, and the institution as a whole. Please, knock it off. I don’t think you would want someone to unfairly disgrace Morgan State University in the same way.

          1. Once again, your faulty and slanderous language is clearly your own. It’s apparent you have taken ownership of it and will not provide a reasonable, justified explanation for it. HelloBeautiful, BuzzFeed, and now HBCU Digest have all decided to create a defamatory and untrue narrative about relationships between Spelman and Morehouse students without providing proper evidence. I thought HBCU Digest was more that just a gossip website with salacious content, but based upon your response, the contrary is true.

            Where in the Morehouse article did it say anything about “rape culture” existing on campus? It clearly addressed efforts to promote awareness and prevention methods in the event of sexual misconduct reports. How exactly does that translate into a “rape culture existing at Morehouse?” This is a very inaccurate statement that you made (along with HelloBeautiful) and so vehemently stated as true. I’m disappointed that you, a graduate of a fellow HBCU, would resort to such labeling without providing any clear evidence or research. I’m still waiting on you to validate your slanderous and untrue opinion/assumption that a “rape culture” exists at Morehouse College. I’m still waiting on that evidence.

            By the way, this current matter is still under investigation and no Morehouse students have ever been convicted of “rape” against any Spelman students. It’s important that we choose our words wisely when describing incidents that are of a criminal nature and may have defamatory implications for any parties or institutions named.

    2. I feel extremely sorry for the young Spelman woman and truly hopes she gets complete justice and begins to heal. The Morehouse students involve are definitely not he type of students that should be at Morehouse or any other college for that matter.

      I understand the importance of finding the truth in this issue but one thing is certain: consent cannot be given when intoxicated.

      But I also have a real issue with HBCU Digest. Why ‘Rape Culture’? Could you really mean ‘Rape Statistics’ or ‘Rape Reporting and Support Processes’?

      By calling it ‘culture’ HBCU Digest is disparaging the school and the 2000 other students who have nothing to do with this.

      I sent a note asking why you used that term after your first similar headline a couple of months ago. Are you trying to knock Morehouse down a couple of notches? This is exactly the type of headline that could aid in that process

      Certainly Morehouse (and Spelman) must do much better in this area, and the President has stated his intention to work with the Spelman president to transform how rape is handled.

      However, HBCU Digest must do a better job of not sensationalizing headlines. One rape is one too many, but Morehouse/Spelman would need to be well above average in the FBI per capital statistics for anyone to classify it as a ‘culture’.

      1. Appreciate the reply, and I think that there’s nothing I could say or do to take Morehouse down a few notches; the successes and struggles are just those, and aren’t wholly emblematic of what Morehouse has been, is, or will be.

        The term ‘Rape Culture’ isn’t representative of the entire school, every student and graduate, or every administrator participating in raping someone. It is a term used to describe the attitudes, perspectives and actions surrounding the issue of rape, exclusively at Morehouse College.

        Morehouse, like many HBCUs, has many cultures – LGBT, sports, fashion, politics, media, leadership, international, etc. That’s not to say that everyone is an active contributor to these cultures, or a member of groups who self-identify by way of these cultures, but it is to say that the campus has widespread opinion, attention, and concern about one, some or all of these cultures.

        Because of the number of incidents on the campus, the publicity of these incidents, and the reaction of community members, Morehouse legitimately has a rape culture.

        Again, this is not to broadly implicate all people. It is to say that there is a culture on the campus within which every man can have an opinion, take an action, decide to be inactive, or to actually commit the act of rape. It has become a topic of discussion and activity on the campus, and thereby, just in my opinion and appropriate usage of the term, a culture.

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