All Articles Tagged "college"

The Sisterhood Struggle: I Joined A Sorority, But I Don’t Belong

July 17th, 2015 - By Deja Jones
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The Pink Pill: "Female Viagra" Backed By FDA Panel


When I got to college in 2007, I had a list of things that I knew I wanted to complete before I graduated. I wanted to be active on my campus, and I was. I was a sprinter for the girls’ track and field team and worked my way up to vice president of the Black student union my senior year. I was involved all right, but I was missing one thing that meant a lot to me, and that was inclusion into a Greek-letter organization. A sorority. I thought that it would complete my college experience, to be able to take part in sorority life on a very diverse campus. I wanted in for the sisterhood, the community service, as well as the promise of great networking opportunities.

I knew a lot about Black Greek-letter organizations by the time I started college, but I didn’t know that Greek life was so much broader than just Black Greeks: I discovered fraternities and sororities that were Latina based; ones that were culturally based; some that were ‘historically white”; some in the form of honor societies; some alternative ones that focused on LGBT life; and even some faith-based organizations. I remember wondering how one figured out which one is the right fit when there are so many options, so I started doing lots of research on the ones that did interest me. I also started attending informational sessions and meetings to interact with sisters from these organizations and to meet other girls who were also looking for some answers.

By my senior year, my life began to transition so much. I ended up deciding on an organization I believed would offer me the sisterhood I wanted, as well as some clarity on the direction my life was heading in. I joined a faith-based sorority. I pledged in the spring of 2012 and was immediately eager to be involved. I came into my chapter wearing many hats and thought that I was getting the best of both worlds. I had the opportunity to make a difference in my community while at the same time cultivate my own spiritual life. But I was soon faced with disappointment when things didn’t quite work out like that.

Struggling with my own faith and identity, I found it difficult to be “branded” or affiliated with a faith-based organization after a while. My line sisters and I received the occasional church jokes from our peers, but while they shrugged them off, I found myself torn. “I really want to go to this campus party, but people know I’m in a Christian sorority and it would look bad,” I found myself saying. As well as “I would love to have a drink at this party, but then I would get, ‘Aren’t you in a Christian sorority?'” I found myself getting tired of explaining myself to people. I grew weary of teaching people about my sorority because no one seemed to know about anything other than Black Greeks on campus.

Still, I tried to make it work. Wanting desperately to be a voice in my community and campus through service, I found myself at odds with my sorority sisters when it came to addressing the needs of the people we were meant to target. As someone who lives life as a learning experience and tries to be relatable in order to reach people, I found myself frustrated. My ideas were unheard because they often didn’t have a Bible-backing or didn’t relate directly to Biblical ministry. My idea of meeting the needs of people was completely different from the majority of my chapter. It was disappointing.

This wasn’t the Greek experience I planned on getting when I first entered college. I asked myself, where was the sorority pride? The networking experiences I thought I would get?

I soon realized that I wasn’t having the experience I hoped for because I joined my organization for the wrong reasons. I joined a Christian sorority because, at the time, I found myself struggling with my faith and Christianity as a whole. I believed that if I had support, I would find my way back. Not to mention that I was hellbent on making connections that could help me in the future. But through my many frustrations I began to question my choice. I started feel the pressure of living up to a certain standard that resulted in me not being true to who I am and what I believe.

I wanted sisterhood, but I found that I didn’t relate to many of my sorority sisters. I wanted to have genuine conversations about life, hang out, and build bonds and friendship, but I felt as though I didn’t fit in. Not only that, I felt I was judged harshly. So instead of being drawn closer to my faith, during my spiritual journey, I found that I had to learn to start accepting myself and stop trying to conform to what others said and did. As someone who is extremely independent and who hates labels, it’s hard for me to find my place within my sorority to this day, an organization that operates in ways that I don’t agree with. I joined because I was searching for answers, searching for myself even. But when I learned to just be myself, I felt so much better.

I appreciate and respect the work my sorority does for the community, but I have to admit that I now realize, it’s not for me…

Too Much Or Too Real? Incoming Black Professor Says White Males Are The Problem For America’s Colleges

May 13th, 2015 - By Veronica Wells
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Black Professor Says White Males Are The Problem

Source: Inform

Twitter will have you jeopardizing opportunities if you’re not careful with your words…or if you just don’t care who knows how you really feel.

According to theGrio, incoming Boston University professor Saida Grundy came under fire recently for a series of what some are calling racially intolerant tweets.

Grundy is set to begin teaching in July but some students are already questioning her ethics.

Here’s what she had to say:

why is white america so reluctant to identify white college males as a problem population?

white masculinity is THE problem for America’s colleges. 

Deal with your white [expletive], white people. slavery is YALL thing. 

Then she wrote:

every MLK week i commit myself to not spending a dime in white-owned businesses. and every year i find it nearly impossible. 

Her tweets were grabbed and shared on several websites and Fox News. Grundy made her account private shortly after that.

Some students are taking issue with the tweets. One junior political science major said, “If I’m hiring a professor, I want someone who can relate to all students, all groups of people from all walks of life. It just seems to me that she is just not able to do that.” 

Another student Ukrainian sociology student said, “BU is one of the most diverse schools in the country, and it actually has a lot of people who come from different backgrounds, and her tweets would just be exclusionary to a lot of those people.”

Other students have defended her comments. A student group called the People of Color Coalition expressed their support. One member of the group, studying neuroscience and philosophy said the tweets weren’t racially charged.

“I don’t think reverse racism against white folks is a thing. You need to have institutional and systemic power in order to be racist. People of color like Professor Grundy don’t have that…I’m 100 percent supportive of her and excited for her to come to campus.” 

Hell, I’d be excited for Professor Grundy to come through too. She’s about to shake some things up! But let’s talk about these tweets.

There is a lot of truth behind her words. White people need to deal with their stuff. Slavery, as this country knows it, has primarily been a White people thing. And White people, by in large, have yet to acknowledge, let alone mention the lingering aftermath of it. But I think her tweets become problematic when she starts generalizing and labeling a specific group of people. True, White people are the benefactors of slavery and perpetrators of racism; but still, it’s slavery and racism that are the real problems here. Not all White, college boys are a part of the “problem population” but racism is the force, the system that makes them most likely to belong to it.

White masculinity is not inherently problematic but racism and misogyny have made it so. Her tweets seem to be attacking the symptoms and not the disease. It would be the equivalent of a Fox News correspondent saying that Black and Brown people are THE problem in society because they make up 60 percent (in 2012) of the prison population. The statement fails to take into consideration the drug laws that disproportionately disadvantage Black and Brown people. It doesn’t consider poverty, the heavy and often unnecessary presence of police in Black and Brown neighborhoods and…#racism.

It’s all around us. So in that sense, I agree with Grundy. White people need to deal with their ish. And racism is a part of that. But in the meantime, I think we all need to be careful to invest our energy into attacking the system that bred these problematic White boys rather than the boys themselves.

Still, I don’t think her opinions disqualify her for the position. Unlike that particular student quoted above, I don’t believe all professors should be able to relate to all students. As Black women, there have been more professors who had absolutely no idea who we were or what we experience, than teachers, and later professors, who could actually relate. And while being able to relate would be a nice perk, it doesn’t mean that you can learn from that person. I’m sure the students at Boston University could learn plenty from Professor Grundy.

What do you think about Grundy’s tweets, were they out of line or did she speak the truth?

Robert Ri’Chard To Star In College Drama Web Series “427”

April 29th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Robert Ri'Chard


A new comedy/drama series titled 427 is set to be released on YouTube this summer and we are here for it.

The web series will revolve around a group of friends who attend a fictional college in Tallahassee, Florida. Based off of the trailer, the series has elements of the ’90s series A Different World mixed in with BET’s classic reality television hit College Hill, which will for a hilariously nostalgic expose of many of or own college shenanigans.

The cast of 427 includes viral YouTube video superstar TPindell—known for his comedic videos such as, What Guys Say vs. What Guys Want To Say, Robert Ri’chard (Cousin Skeeter, Chocolate City and Coach Carter), Brittany Hall (Survivor’s Remorse, Drumline: A New Beat) and Gregg Wayans (A Haunted House 2, My Crazy Roommate).

The series was written, directed and produced by Jonathan Lesane, who also serves as the Director of Public Relations for the non-profit STAR Education. Be sure to subscribe TPindell’s YouTube page for more updates on the upcoming release of 427 and check out the trailer below. Will you be tuning in?

Texas A&M Professor Flunks Entire Class For Cheating, Cursing And Spreading Rumors

April 28th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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failing classMany of us have witnessed malignant behavior in middle or high school from our peers. However sometimes that type of behavior finds its way into college buildings. Although bad behavior may send you to the principal’s office when you’re younger, as a college student your professor may fail you despite the work you did in class.

For example, Professor Irwin Horwitz of Texas A&M University at Galveston has flunked his entire Strategic Management class for how the students treated him. Professor Horwitz cited students cursed at him, spread rumors about the course,  participated in cheating and skipping class. Professor Horwitz’s students were so brazen security guards had to be placed in his classroom.

When Professor Horwitz made a decision to flunk the entire class, he wrote to his students, “I am frankly and completely disgusted. You all lack the honor and maturity to live up to the standards that Texas A&M holds, and the competence and/or desire to do the quality work necessary to pass the course just on a grade level.”

Although the entire class received the email, many of the students felt it did not apply to them. A senior, John Shaw told KPRC, “I had never had a problem in the class. I thought I had…done pretty well on the first test and then I get an email saying I am going to get an F in the class. It was overwhelming.” Texas A&M’s administration understands Professor Horwitz’s frustrations but have decided not to uphold his punishment since the Spring semester is not completed as yet.

Dr. Patrick Louchouran, Vice President of Academic Affairs, said Professor Horwitz will be replaced until the end of the semester. He said of the ordeal, “None of them have failed until the end of the class, meaning the only reason a student would fail is because he or she has not performed the expectations for that particular class.”

A failing grade means hundreds of dollars in tuition down the drain. Not to mention the impact it’ll have on student transcripts. Do you agree with Professor Horwitz’s or Texas A&M’s administration’s actions?

via Cosmopolitan

$1M Prize Encourages Colleges To Recruit Lower Income, High Achieving Students

April 8th, 2015 - By Kimberly Gedeon
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Colleges, especially elite institutions, aren’t exactly checking for low income, high achievers. Accepting students from humble families, according to The New York Times, means having to take a huge bite out of the budget to supplement their education. There’s no incentive — well, until now.

A new $1 million prize, fashioned by Jack Kent Cooke Foundation, just might encourage universities to reconsider recruiting more smart students from low socio-economic backgrounds. According to the NY Timesthe award is bestowed to any college that strives to promote economic diversity within its student body.

And this year’s winner is —  drumroll please — Vassar College.

About 25 percent of students attending Vassar College, located in Poughkeepsie, NY, qualify for Pell Grants, which means they come from the bottom 40 percent of the U.S. income distribution. The average annual price tag of attending Vassar College as a low-income student, after taking scholarships into account, is about $6,000, according to Upshot.

“The Cooke prize is the latest sign of the momentum around socioeconomic diversity — and, by extension, upward mobility — in higher education,” New York Times said.

Harvard, Amherst, Pomona and the state universities of California and North Carolina, to name a few, are also making moves to be more inclusive of students from humble beginnings. All have managed to increase their low-income enrollment.

But of course, there are laggards in the U.S. higher education system that need to work on being less homogeneous (a.k.a not overwhelmingly White, male, and affluent). If you do the math, NY Times said, universities cringe at the costs of subsidizing low income students. Colleges spend five percent, at most, of their endowments on scholarships and grants:

“Sustaining one poor student who needs $45,000 a year in aid requires $1 million in endowment devoted to that purpose,” NY Times added, “100 of them require $100 million.”

“A lot of it is just about money, because each additional low-income student you enroll costs you a lot in financial aid,” said Michael Bastedo, director of the Center for the Study of Higher and Postsecondary Education at the University of Michigan. “No one is going to talk openly and say, ‘Oh, we’re not making low-income students a priority.’”

College presidents are under constant pressure to meet their budgets, boost graduation rates, and improve their rankings. And although many lower income students are intelligent, they often have lower SAT scores than their affluent counterparts. This can harm the college’s ranking.

The best way to combat a money-driven system is to bait ’em with more money. Vassar College plans to spend its $1 million award on its orientation program and scholarships for undocumented immigrants.

The prize, according to Cooke Foundation Executive Director Harold O. Levy, is “the answer” to stagnating social mobility.

10-Year-Old Esther Okade Is The UK’s Youngest Person Enrolled In College

March 11th, 2015 - By Lauren R.D. Fox
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Youngest Person Enrolled In College


When 10-year-old Esther Okade is not studying as an undergraduate student, she loves dressing up as Elsa from the hit movie Frozen. Great Britain’s youngest college freshmen, Esther’s parents enrolled her at Open University which is a based distance learning college this past January. Despite her age, Esther’s aptitude exceeds all expectations. She even received a perfect score on a recent exam.

Although some believe she is too young to be enrolled in college-level coursework, Esther says of her studies: “It’s so interesting. It has the type of maths I love. It’s real maths — theories, complex numbers, all that type of stuff. It was super easy. My mum taught me in a nice way. I want to (finish the course) in two years. Then I’m going to do my PhD in financial maths when I’m 13. I want to have my own bank by the time I’m 15 because I like numbers and I like people and banking is a great way to help people.”

Esther also revealed she wanted to begin college at the age of seven. After three years of begging, her parents allowed her to begin her college journey. Esther’s parents began to home-school her after she came home crying one day after school. She told her parents she was not interested in attending traditional school anymore because they don’t allow her to talk. Since then, Esther’s mother Efe began to teach her basic math skills and by the time she was four she was studying algebra and quadratic equations.

Besides her major academic achievements, Esther is also a businesswoman. She is currently writing a math workbook for children titled, Yummy Yummy Algebra. Esther says her workbook will start at the beginner’s level and there will be four volumes. Of her endeavor, Esther wants other children to feel special. While Esther completes her college career and business goals, her parents have built a foundation and are in the process of launching an nursery and primary school in Nigeria’s Delta region.

via CNN

Thundercakes Founder Courtnee Futch Took A Dorm Room Baking Business To The Big Stage

October 8th, 2014 - By Rana Campbell
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With love and butter. That’s the slogan of Thundercakes, a bakery that serves custom order cakes, brownies, cupcakes, cheesecakes and cookies to the Syracuse University and surrounding community. Thundercakes was founded by Syracuse University senior Courtnee Futch in 2012 when she was only a freshman. Under her direction, the company has won over $20,000 in grant funding and several business and entrepreneurship awards. We caught up with Futch to learn more what inspired Thundercakes, how she manages college and entrepreneurship, business challenges and success, and why she’s on track to rake in millions in the next five years.

Madame Noire (MN): What inspired you to start Thundercakes?

Courtnee Futch (CF):  I never had any entrepreneurial goals. A moment of desperation is what launched me into my passion. It was midnight on March 25, 2012. I finally checked my banking account after avoiding it for several  months. I had $6.14. I panicked and immediately starting thinking what I could do to make some quick, legal money. The first thing that came to mind was baking. I’ve always been a baker and was self-taught, but joined the culinary team when I got to high school. People already knew me as a baker on campus so it was easy to launch. The first thing that came to mind was Thundercakes because my nickname was the  “Chocolate Thunder.”

I made a group on Facebook called Thundercakes by Courtnee. The first thing I made were 40 bacon chocolate rice crispy treats with white chocolate and caramel drizzle. It sold out in under an hour. Everything took off on its own and spread far beyond what I imagined. People have been able to  order from a menu and eventually from the website.  On the Syracuse University campus, there really isn’t too much as far as gourmet dessert options. That was me. Now I am filling a very specific niche in the marketplace.

MN: You’ve made over $80,000 in profit over the last two years. What processes did you put in place to generate such a profit?

CF: Baking is a very interesting industry to be in because typically there is a very good profit margin when you are running the business the way I run it. By not having a physical storefront location, I am saving so much overhead. It doesn’t cost me very much to rent my kitchen. Ingredients don’t cost a whole lot. Each of the things on my menu, I only make them when people order them. That saves a lot of time and allows me to be really scant with my resources.  I take that money and put it to the side for my education and my salary. I’m paying myself, which is something I wasn’t doing at first.

New Poll Finds Most Americans Don’t Believe College Is Important

September 17th, 2014 - By Ann Brown
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Used to be if you were going to tell your parents you weren’t going to college you better be calling them from out of state. But now it seems a majority of Americans don’t think it is important to go to college. According to an annual poll about Americans’ education views, only 44 percent of Americans believe that getting a college education is “very important.” This is a major drop from 75 percent four years ago. This means most Americans don’t think it’s important to get a college education.

The poll is the 46th annual PDK-Gallup poll, and has been conducted with Gallup every year since 1969. PDK is a global association of education professionals.

Many parents find college costs too high. In fact, only 69 said it was “somewhat” or “very likely” that they would be able to pay for college for their oldest child. In 2010 it was 77 percent.

“On the whole, Americans are doubtful about students’ career readiness. Just 3 percent of Americans say a high school dropout is ready for the world of work, and just 13 percent say a high school grad is ready. Thirty-seven percent of Americans agree that college grads are ready for the work world, and fewer (31 percent) agree high school grads are ready for college,” reports The Washington Post.

The two-part poll had other interesting findings: Six of 10 Americans said entrance requirements into teacher preparation programs should be more rigorous; 61 percent of Americans opposed using student standardized test scores to evaluate teachers; and 58 percent said the curriculum used in their community’s schools needs to change.

Surprisingly, Americans believe in the public school system. Some 64 percent of Americans (and the same percentage of public school parents) says they have “trust and confidence” in public school teachers. This was down a little from 78 percent in 2013. But 81 percent said that new teachers should be required to take a test similar to a “bar exam” that prospective lawyers must take before practicing law.

The pollsters also asked whether Americans believe the country should provide a free public education to the children of undocumented immigrants. Forty-nine percent said yes, a slight increase from last years 44 percent.

Let’s ask you: How is important is college?

Columbia Student Carries Around Mattress As Long As She Attends The Same School As Her Rapist

September 4th, 2014 - By Veronica Wells
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Columbia Student Carries Around Mattress As Long As She Attends The Same School As Her Rapist

Source: YouTube

At this point, rape on college campuses is a well-documented problem. And though we’re more cognizant of the issue, it doesn’t mean that universities and even police departments are doing their due diligence in investigating and prosecuting rape cases.

Unfortunately, one Columbia University student knows this all too well.

Emma Sulkowicz reported her rape to the university. But when they failed to take action she filed a police report against her alleged rapist, fellow Columbia student, Jean-Paul Nungesser.

According to the police report Sulkowicz had consensual sex with Nungesser twice before the alleged attack. Two years ago, on August 27, Sulkowicz said the two started to have consensual sex again when things turned violent.

On the report Sulkowicz said Nungesser hit her across the face, choked her and pushed her knees to her chest, leaning on them to keep them up. He then held Sulkowicz’s wrists as he penetrated her anally.

Sulkowicz told him to stop but he did not. She struggled with him but he kept going. And then stopped suddenly without ejaculating.

Initially, Sulkowicz didn’t file a complaint through the university because she was embarrassed and ashamed of what had happened.

Sulkowicz told the Columbia Daily Spectator, “When it first happened, I didn’t want to talk to anyone. I didn’t even tell my parents…I didn’t even want to talk to my best friend.”

But then she learned that there were two other women who claimed that Nungesser had assaulted them as well.

That’s when she went to the university.

“I realized that if I didn’t report him he’d continue to attack women on this campus. I had to do it for those other women.”

The university ultimately told her that they were not responsible. The same decision was given to the other two women who reported their incidents.

Sulkowicz took her story to the police and unfortunately, their response wasn’t much better.

Sulkowicz said, “There’s a reason survivors choose not to go to the police, and that’s because they’re treated as criminals. The rapists are innocent until proven guilty but survivors are guilty until proven innocent, at least in the eyes of the police.”

When she filed the report the officer kept emphasizing the fact that they had had consensual sex before. The officer kept asking what Nungesser was wearing that night and was surprised when Sulkowicz couldn’t remember specific details which occurred more than a year and a half ago.

When she was done speaking to the officer, he told her friend, “Of all of these cases, 90 percent are bullshit, so I don’t believe your friend for a second.”

Needless to say the investigation didn’t go far.

But Sulkowicz, a visual arts major, decided not to stop speaking about her experience. Instead, she turned it into her senior art project.

It’s a performance art piece called “Carry That Weight” Sulkowicz carries around her dorm mattress wherever she goes for as long as she’s attending the same school as her rapist.

See what she had to say about the piece and what she hopes people take from it in the video below.

Should You Have To Sign A Contract Of Consent Before Sex?

July 1st, 2014 - By Charing Ball
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A new bill working its way through the California legislation will likely revolutionize the way college campuses and students consent to sexual activity. But are the proposed changes the kind of changes needed?

The bill is called SB-967, and it was introduced by California Democratic state Sens. Kevin De Leon and Hannah-Beth Jackson, as well as coauthored by Assemblywoman Bonnie Lowenthal. And according to the language, the bill seeks to amend the student safety section of the state’s Education Code, to require college students in particular to provide “affirmative consent” prior to engaging in any sexual activity, including kissing.

According to various published reports, the bill, which has already passed the state senate and is working its way through the state Assembly, would also require California colleges and universities receiving state funds for financial aid to create and implement policies and standards to not only address affirmative consent, but also for those institutions to “implement comprehensive prevention and outreach programs addressing sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking.”

As many supporters of the legislations have noted, this bill does away with the often murky blurred lines of consent, which results from tough to prove cases of sexual assault like date rape and when the victim is intoxicated or passed out. Now alleged offenders would have to prove that consent in the affirmative was given prior to engaging in sex, as opposed to the old way, which relied on alleged victims of sexual assault, having to prove that they said no.

However the response to the bill has been a pretty mixed bag. As Emma Woolf writes in her piece for The Daily Beast, entitled Does California’s College Rape Bill Go Too Far In Regulating Sex?, the bill has its problems, particularly how -as it is currently written – a consenting couple would have to seek permission for each sexual act, prior to it actually occurring. And by definition, that would make every single sexual act in the state of California rape in the pretext. More specifically she notes:

But what about regular physical intimacy between regular (non-criminal) students? Are we in danger, in the rush to legislate, of ruining the moment? When I was a teenager, the stages of physical intimacy were called bases: so you might go to first base, second base, third base, or “all the way.” (I don’t remember any young men checking in between bases…)

Comedians love to satirise this kind of law: “May I touch your left breast?’ “You may touch my left breast’; “May I touch your right breast?’ etc. Comedy aside, the conviction rate for rape and other sexual crimes is scandalously low, and this bill seems unlikely to right that wrong. The tragic fact is that rape can and does happen within marriages: once again, SB 967 does nothing to address that.

But in a response to those criticisms, Martha Kemper of the reproduction rights and sexual health website, Reality Check, points out in her piece, Is Affirmative Consent the Answer to Sexual Assault on College Campuses?, that kind of thinking belittles the act of consent and the paranoia of those who are being overly sensitive. Instead, Kemper writes about the law’s potential to address rape culture as a whole:

But communication is still important. Young men have been taught by our society that their role in relationships is to want sex badly, and women’s is to reluctantly give it to them. Many have never really been taught what is and isn’t consent—except, perhaps, “no means no.” That does not excuse any man who rapes, but it is a problem. Fostering a culture of affirmative consent among both parties could prevent at least some men from raping.”

That is an important point to note considering the US Department of Education is currently investigating 55 colleges and universities for allegedly mishandling sexual assault cases. Personally, I feel like this law is potentially some game-changing stuff here. In addition to getting folks to think in new ways about how we communicate sexually including consent. It looks like it will begin to hold education institutions more accountable. But I do worry about the implication and those pesky grey areas. Like how can expressed consent, particularly the verbal kind, be proven when the people involved are disputing the claim? And whose word will matter more? If the we currently treat sexual assault victims in the legal justice system is any indication, potential victims of sexual assault might run into some of the same institutional barriers and biases, particularly the discrediting women through slut-shaming, they had before.