​​Dartmouth sexual assault victims come forward after 16 years of silence

​​Seven female students and faculty part of Dartmouth’s psychology department have come forward to file a lawsuit against the university after their complaints of sexual harassment had been ignored for over a decade.

A $70 million Title IX class action lawsuit was filed in the federal court of New Hampshire on Nov. 16 against Dartmouth College for compensatory and punitive damages against the seven victims that have come forward about their cases. The culprits are three tenured professors who have a history of making inappropriate comments about female students, making sexual advances towards students and staff and one professor went as far as drugging and sexually assaulting one of his laboratory assistants. Over the years, many of these cases were reported to the school, but no action was taken due to the prestige of the professors in question.

The affected women are risking their careers and reputations in the psychological community because of the respect the three assaulters have. The seven victims have reported that the three psychology professors hired lab assistants based on their attractiveness and willingness to attend their inappropriately intimate hot tub parties.

ABC News’ Julia Jacobo wrote an article concerning the case that contains a quote from one of the victims named Kristina Rapuano. “Soon after I arrived [at Dartmouth]… I quickly noticed that in order to get academic advising from… my adviser, it required me to engage with him, socially, in a lot of ways that I felt were very unprofessional,” Rapuano said.

Rapuano’s testimony was not the first of its kind. The first case of sexual harassment by the three professors was reported in 2002 to the college and yet no one did anything about it. Over time more and more cases were filed with the school officials, but the professors kept their jobs.

Another one of the victims named Andrea Courtney told ABC News, “[Advisors] advised students to wait until after their annual standing meeting — in which their advisers would evaluate them in front of the department — because if they didn’t stay in their labs before the meeting their character might be slammed in front of the department.”

The student victims complained that the professors continued the sexual advancements even though they had asked to be moved out of the assaulting professors’ labs, but they were always brushed off, so the school forced them to return to the abuse.

For being such a prestigious school, Dartmouth has failed to compensate or apologize to the students in the psychology department that have been victimized. Because of this, the school should be held responsible for tampering with the education of their Ph.D. students. Not only should the professors be fired, but they should also do some jail time. As well as the faculty who knew about the cases but never reported the complaints to the police for 16 years.

It is common knowledge that sexual assault and rape have lasting effects on the human brain, so these scholars are taking the step to do something about the injustice they faced at an institution where they should have felt safe and cared about. They went to Dartmouth to become doctors of psychology, not for three professors to take advantage of having tenure and evidently scarring the lives of these women who were only participating in these assaults in order to further their own education.