Quick Hit: While celebrating Mizzou’s Michael Sam, don’t forget rape culture still exists

Sasha Menu Courey

Sasha Menu Courey

While we celebrate Mizzou’s Michael Sam and his courage for potentially becoming the first openly gay NFL player, we can’t forget the other reason his school and football team have been in the news recently. From Steven Hsieh at The Nation:

Less than one month ago, Outside the Lines, the same program that brought this week’s historic interview, revealed how Mizzou failed one of its students, Sasha Menu Courey.

For those unfamiliar with the story, Menu Courey was a former Missouri swimmer who reported that she had been raped in 2010 by a member of the school’s football team. (According to a friend who was on the team, several players were involved in the alleged assault.) The next year, after spiraling into depression, she committed suicide.

The OTL investigation revealed MU administrators failed to take appropriate action to investigate the alleged rape, despite finding out about the incident more than a year ago.

[...]

Mizzou initially took a defensive stance, claiming “it did everything possible” for Menu Courey, and that it declined to open an investigation upon learning of the rape allegations because her parents did not ask for one. But just days later, the Columbia Police Department opened an investigation of Menu Courey’s rape allegations with the cooperation of MU officials. University system president Thomas Wolfe sent a letter to chancellors asking for an independent review of Mizzou’s handling of the case.

As the coverage of Michael Sam’s pending draft results increases, the story of Sasha Menu Courey will likely fall further and further from the national conscious. But while we’re rightfully happy about the progress being made in combatting homophobia, we can’t ignore that those same football players, coaches, administrators, and officials who have rallied around Sam have also rallied to protect alleged rapists with no regard for the victims. Sorry (not sorry) to be a killjoy, but reality is reality. Read the rest here.

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Mychal Mychal Denzel Smith is a Knobler Fellow at The Nation Institute.

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