8.17.16 | Mark Joseph Stern
Brigham Young University has a well-documented rape problem, one that’s different from the sexual assault crisis that plagues many other campuses: When female rape victims report their assault, they are often punished for breaking the school’s stringent honor code, while their rapists frequently walk free.
Now a shattering report in the Salt Lake Tribune confirms what many sexual abuse prevention advocates feared: Gay and bisexual students also face punishment, suspension, and even expulsion for reporting rape by someone of the same sex.
The source of this manifest injustice is BYU’s honor code, which prohibits “homosexual behavior,” defined as “not only sexual relations between members of the same sex, but all forms of physical intimacy that give expression to homosexual feelings.” When students report same-sex rape, they may be accused of violating this provision of the honor code. In one instance detailed by the Tribune, a student named Andy told a bishop that he had been raped—and the bishop gave him two options: “Repent” to the honor code office, or allow the bishop himself to report Andy for acting on “homosexual behavior.”