A 23-year former Rutgers-New Brunswick student is waiting for the university to finish its investigation of a 2017 case of domestic violence.
Her boyfriend attacked the victim during an argument and was found guilty of simple assault with a penalty of nearly $1,000. However, the university is still investigating the case 9 months after she filed a complaint. The victim has posted on social media that the university’s Title IX office is treating the case with “complete disregard,” including her requests for an update.
Title IX is a 1972 law that requires gender equity in all federally funded educational programs. The university states that high-level personnel contacted the victim only after her social media posts generated considerable interest and responses.
Cycle of Dating Abuse
The most recent abuse incident was not the first for this victim with her boyfriend. As a result of a prior attack, the victim obtained a restraining order against the man.
College-age women are the most common victims of domestic violence (U.S. Department of Justice 2014 report). This population is dating and also may be isolated as they are away from their homes and families for the first time.
At the Rutgers-New Brunswick campus, there were 93 victims of domestic crimes in 2016, including 31 sexual attacks and 23 rapes. You can read more about Rutgers’ performance in the NJ Advance Media 2016 report on sexual assault in our earlier blog.
Just like sexual assault incidents, most domestic violence attacks are not reported.
As a result of panic attacks after the assault incident, the victim in this case experienced poor school performance and was bedridden on some days.
Rutgers’ Title IX Investigative Process Taking Months
The victim’s initial claim was forwarded to the Rutgers Student Affairs Compliance and Title IX office, and soon after she met with the Title IX investigator.
In April, months after their meeting, the victim was notified that the investigator was finalizing the report. 2 months later, when the attacker was found guilty of the criminal charges, the investigator submitted his final report. However, at this time, the victim still has no definitive answer from Rutgers.
A spokesperson for the New Jersey Coalition to End Domestic Violence believes that there tends to be a lack of support for dating and domestic violence survivors.
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