And by then, Melissa says, she wasn’t his only target.
He was bullying other students with disabilities, too.
He was “taking advantage of my disability,” Melissa says.
Over the last two years, American universities have come under intense, unprecedented scrutiny for how they handle sexual assault, stalking, and domestic or dating violence.
She tried to shrug off his remarks, but it became more difficult as John began fixating on her.
“He would sneak up behind me, grab me, and ask, ‘Guess who? John didn’t need to cover her eyes, because Melissa is blind. According to Melissa, John often exploited her blindness.
More specifically, it uncovers troubling allegations from students who said their disabilities made them targets for sexual assault; that their experiences reporting that abuse were complicated by factors like disability, race and sexual identity; and that in some cases, sexual assault was even the cause of a disability, such as depression.
Meanwhile, at least one other student reported John for assault or harassment, and Mc Caskill met with John to talk about that case. Melissa says she later found out — from a friend and via a text from John himself — that Mc Caskill had mentioned her name during the meeting with John.
Frustrated and angry, she sent Mc Caskill an email alleging a violation of her confidentiality and criticizing the two-month delay, and copied several senior university officials.
“He kept groping my genitals and rubbing himself against me, and I kept pushing him away, but he kept doing it over and over,” she remembers. (John — whose name and some identifying features have also been changed — declined to comment, except to say that the accusations against him were “overturned.”) From the day they met, just a few months earlier, Melissa felt uncomfortable around John.
She barely knew him, but he was already telling her about the classmates he wanted to sleep with, she says.
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