Rape and the college campus (5×8 – 8/31/12)

Note: Chances are this will be the only post on NewsCut today. I’ll be working at the MPR booth at the State Fair today from 9 to 5, pushing the merchandise. Otherwise, back on Tuesday.


There’s no evidence readily available to suggest that the University of Minnesota Duluth is much different than any other college campus, which is why an eight-month investigation by the school’s campus newspaper is particularly troubling.

Even though only three cases of sexual assault have been officially reported, hundreds of women every year said they had been sexually assaulted. That’s 1 in 17 students at UMD.

One in five women on the nation’s college campus will be sexually assaulted, a study says. And one of the reasons it may not be reported more is that women don’t know what to do, according to the Statesman newspaper.

A UMD student said that when she was raped on a Friday in the spring of her sophomore year in 2011, she didn’t know what to do.

She said she waited until Monday to call UMD Health Services. She was then informed of forensic and medical testing that is provided at local hospitals free of charge.

By this time she had showered, and crucial evidence had been destroyed.

“Before it happened I did not (know what to do), which is why I did not go get a rape kit or anything,” said Stacy, a pseudonym, as the Statesman does not generally identify victims of sexual assault. “I’ve heard of them, obviously, but I didn’t know details.”

Stacy isn’t alone. Another alleged rape victim interviewed during this investigation, “Marissa” said she didn’t know how to report an assault.

“I had absolutely no idea (what to do),” she said. “Who researches this stuff when it hasn’t happened to them? Because no one thinks it’s going to.”

The investigation also found that no student has been disciplined for sexual assault at the school in at least 14 years, and that a rape victim was intimidated out of pursuing charges against the alleged rapist.

The series also includes the story of a male sexual health educator who was drugged and raped.

“I always told people when I was teaching them about sexual health, ‘It’s not your fault, you didn’t ask for this,'” J.D. Holmquist told the reporters. “But then it happened to me and I was like, ‘What did I do wrong?’ And all of the sudden I was questioning everything I had ever learned.”

This is a must-read series.


Last night was Mitt Romney’s big night, but today the chatter seems to be about Clint Eastwood.

Missed it? Here:

The NPR Morning Edition crew gave it a thumbs down…

Your view?

The Obama campaign responded to Eastwood via Twitter:

Related: Andrew Zimmern fires back at Tim Pawlenty.


Nobody just proposes anymore. Every proposal has to be more stupendous than the previous one that also went viral.

David Pogue, the tech writer at the New York Times, made his into a movie trailer…

Pogue’s Proposal from david pogue on Vimeo.

Top that, love birds.


A New York whippersnapper has riled up the people of North Dakota with her Business Insider article, “Why I’ll Never Move to North Dakota,” that dismissed NoDak’s high ranking in places-to-live surveys.

No one can simply look at employment rates for a state and count on finding a job in their field. North Dakota’s economy may be booming, but that’s mostly due to its mining and shale industry. I didn’t go to journalism school to work on an oil rig. And according to Salary.com, the average reporter in Fargo, N.D. nets only a little more than $31,000 per year.

And there’s the flat land, the lack of diversity, and the social scene, she adds for good measure.

“It’s Fargo,” Sam Benshoof of the Fargo Forum responds in defense of his state, “and it has its own charms and quirks that can’t be summed up in lists or data, and can’t be understood by those who’ve never visited.”


Tonight is the second full moon of the month, making it a “blue moon,” in popular lore. But that’s a mistake, Bob King of the Duluth News Tribune writes. The term “blue” actually comes from an old definition, meaning “rare.” Then it was mistakenly used to mean the second moon of the month on a Public Radio program and that was all it took, he claims, to give it its current meaning.

Bonus I: Cats and Internet videos. Seriously, what’s the deal here? (Wired.com) Oh, and here’s last night’s playlist from the Walker’s cat video film festival.

Bonus II: A trumpet falls silent. (Marshall Independent)

Bonus III: The college football season is underway with the traditional running the wrong way after a fumble.


Thursday evening, Mitt Romney accepted the Republican nomination for president with a speech that was anticipated as the most important of his political career. Today’s Question: What did you think of Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech?


Daily Circuit (9-12 p.m.) – First hour: Recapping Mitt Romney’s speech from last night.

Second hour: Iron Ranger Aaron J. Brown.

Third hour: Rebroadcast of the Romney speech.

MPR News Presents (12-1 pm): It’s MPR DAY at the Minnesota State Fair. MPR’s Tom Crann hosts Gov. Mark Dayton on the Carousel Park stage. The governor will answer questions from the audience.

Science Friday (1-2 p.m.) – The western U.S. is on fire. Could climate change be to blame? Ira Flatow looks at the link between earlier springtime weather, and wildfires. What secrets do all those burning tree rings hold? Plus

Curiosity gets moving on Mars. Where is it headed, and why?

  • And I’m waiting, looking for a new blue Moon…

    (we’ll see if I just earwormed anyone 🙂 )

  • Dylan Kvasnicka

    #5 – //According to the Old Farmer’s Almanac, the first full moon of August was the sturgeon and the second, the red moon. It’s a fun coincidence that this month’s red moon is also blue. – pulled from the link to the Duluth News Tribune

    Wouldn’t it be more prudent to say the coincidence is that this month’s blue moon is also red? Considering a red moon would by nature also be blue?

    Fun Friday morning read. Thanks, Bob.

  • jtberken

    #2 – I voted “…was on target.” – I believe that the Eastwood speech is the poster child of the Republican Party right now…confused, rambling, contradictorary, old, and white.

  • Even though I grew up in North Dakota, I never thought that I would want to stay in Fargo after I graduated. Now that I’ve gone onto grad school in Mankato, I find myself longing to be back in Fargo. I still spend my summers in Fargo doing freelance gigs, and it feels so much more like home. I’m not sure if I could put any of the reasons for loving North Dakota into list form, but I can say I agree whole-heatedly with Sam Benshoof’s article in the Forum.

  • andy


    Ha ha ha…. that’s exactly what I was thinking!

  • Tyler

    This is a perfect representation of the campaign: an old white man arguing with an imaginary Barack Obama.

    — Jamelle Bouie (@jbouie)

  • Joe

    @jtberken, I could not agree more!!!

  • Steve W.

    Regarding #1 – The article is immensely well done and is a great example of in-depth reporting for the Statesman. I spoke with the writers during the early stages of the investigation and am glad to see that their work and the issues it covers are getting the attention they deserve.

  • r

    not to sound unsympathetic, but where is the common sense in these rape victims? why wouldn’t you call the police if you’re a victim of a crime?

  • Katy K

    Nobody just proposes anymore. Every proposal has to be more stupendous than the previous one that also went viral.

    Three years ago I was proposed to on a Thursday night, after work, on our old hand-me-down couch. There were no speeches, flowers, wine, romantic walks, hidden family (or cameras), movie trailers, computer programs, sky writing, or flash mobs. I’m not even sure that he started out on one knee.

    I still said yes.

    Potential proposers: plain proposals can still work!

  • Christin


    Have you been raped or sexually assaulted before? Have you noticed the public shaming of rape survivors (ex: “legitimate” rape)? Did you read the part of the post where even the sexual health educator felt shame and blamed themself for their assult?

    It is not a lack of common sense. It is the most painful experience that eats you alive from the inside. When it happens, you just want the hurt to go away and you don’t want to talk about it becuase talking makes you relive it. Survivors must learn to cope with the experience, but it takes time. Getting a rape kit done feels violating, despite its importance.

    Survivors of rape were the victims of an atrocious crime and accusing them of lack of common sense is the last thing they deserve. Perhaps, rather than victim-shaming, we ought to talk about why there is a lack of funding for education, recovery, and preventative services.

  • Heather

    r, please also consider that college campuses can be pretty insular, cozy environments, where calling 911 doesn’t actually seem like the obvious correct action. Also, if the assailant is a fellow student, sense of community loyalty comes into play — even though someone else has just violated it — along with the consideration of ruining someone else’s future. Really.

    When I was in college (’88-’92), a woman DID actually call the police and press rape charges against a fellow student. The case went to court, and the judge pulicly berated HER for wasting public resources on a petty claim. On campus, penalties in similar situations were roughly the same as for breaking a vending machine.

  • Pat

    r, if you read the articles, you’ll see that two young women who did report their rapist say that all their friends hate them now. That’s a powerful incentive not to tell anyone.

  • Xopher

    Re: Bonus III–

    It’s one thing to run a fumble the wrong way. But the opposing team chased him down and tackled him, which is even dumber.