Student Alleges Tennessee Christian College Punished Her For Reporting Rape

Student Alleges Tennessee Christian College Discriminated Against Her After Reporting Rape

A student claims that she was punished by her Christian college for coming forward about her rape in the hands of a classmate.

A 22 year old former student at Visible Music College in Memphis, Tennessee has filed a federal complaint against the Christian school with the U.S. Department of Education on Wednesday. In it, she claimed that the Christian college failed to protect her after she reported being choked and raped by a classmate last year and even punished her for reporting the crime to the school.

The New York Post reported that the complainant, Mara Louk, alleged that the school administrators at the Christian college did not remove her abuser from her classes because he was not arrested for the alleged crime, court papers revealed. The Christian school instead accused Louk of violating school rules that forbid premarital sex, this time with another student who was her ex-boyfriend. Louk denied the allegation but the Christian school threatened to expel her if she did not sign a confession and finish her school year remotely.

"I just felt like, why did I even speak up? That's truly how I felt for a long time because everything seemed to keep getting worse," Louk told NBC News. For now, she wants the Department of Education to launch an investigation into the Christian college and determine if Visible Music College had violated the Clery Act, a federal campus safety law that requires administrators to inform students about their rights and assistance options in the event they report sex crimes. She also sought for the DOE to decide if the school also discriminated against her under Title IX.

According to Fox News, Louk's complaint stated that in November, a classmate had visited her apartment to play board games. The complaint did not identify the classmate, but said that it was the first time that the alleged abuser and Louk had been alone together. That night, he sexually assaulted her. The following day, Louk told a school administration about the alleged rape. She shared classes with her abuser and wished to ensure that she would not be harassed on campus.

Visible Music College released a statement on Friday saying that they had not received an official complaint from the DOE and "therefore cannot respond with any further information at this time. However, we would like to assure everyone that we are taking this situation very seriously and addressing the matter with the utmost care, as we have been since Fall 2021," when the rape allgedly occurred.

In Novemebr 2021, another Christian school came under fire for mishandling students' reports of sexual assault. According to Salon, a student named Axley was a freshman at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, where she attended a party at an apartment off campus in the fall of 2017. While intoxicated, she was raped by a fellow student. But upon reporting the incident to her reisdent adviser or RA, the RA advised her not to report the case because she could be found to have voilated the evangelical Christian school's rules on drinking and fraternizing with the opposite sex.

When Axley decided to take the case to the the school's federally mandated office for investigating sexual harassment and violence, the official who took the complaint, Elysa Bucci questioned her instead and made her feel "judged." Moreover, instead of going after the perpetrator, the Christian school went after the victim instead, asking her to acknowledge that she may face "possible disciplinary actions" for violating school policy about premarital sex. Axley's story is just one of the dozens that speak about the failings of the school in mishandling students' reports of sexual assault.