Sexual Assault Survivors React to Gopher Football Investigation

November 19, 2018 10:17 AM

"The words hurt. They feel like post traumatic stress." That’s what sexual assault survivors said about the University of Minnesota Gopher football players' defense of their teammates accused in sexual assault allegations.

“They were found not guilty by the law. This is unjust. All these kids reputations are destroyed, their names are destroyed and its extremely difficult to get back its unfair for them,” the players said.


“Some of these statements can be triggering because it's disbelief and questioning and denial of experience,”Caroline Palmer at the Minnesota Coalition on Sexual Assault said.

She said survivors see news of other sexual assaults and it brings back painful memories for them.  Many carry their secrets or bury them.  Some don’t tell anybody what happened to them.

“Victims don’t feel safe coming forward, and feel like they won’t be believed,”Palmer said.

The Coalition helps survivors find their voices. She said they are making a sacrifice by telling their truth. She said it’s harder for a survivor in a high profile case. She said the student who reported the charges against the Gopher players can feel forgotten.

“Where there is a high profile perpetrator who’s been identified, it usually comes down to how that person's life is ruined,” Palmer said.

“All these kids reputations are destroyed, their names are destroyed,” one of the players supporting his teammates said.

Palmer said the victim’s life is also often destroyed.

“There's a victim here who's life has been changed, who will be suffering enormous consequences,” she said.

The lawyer for the woman who accused the players has had several conversations with KSTP’s Brandi Powell about telling her story to 5 EYEWITNESS News, but she has yet to agree to an interview.


Farrah Fazal

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