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#RapedAtSpelman: Twitter Account Alleges Morehouse Gang Rape

#RapedAtSpelman: Twitter Account Alleges Morehouse Gang Rape 1:20

An alleged gang rape detailed on an anonymous Twitter account has sparked investigations at two elite Atlanta universities and set off a social media firestorm.

The president of Spelman University urged the voice behind the @RapedAtSpelman account to come forward, saying "our hearts go out to you… Please identify yourself to me, so that I may offer you my full support and assistance."

Spelman College
The entrance to Spelman College in Atlanta in 2009. Tami Chappell / Reuters file

"I know that members of our Spelman community join me in expressing heartbreak and outrage over the incidents and experiences recounted on Twitter," Spelman College President Mary Schmidt Campbell added in a statement to students.

The @RapedAtSpelman account started posting on May 2.

"This is my freshmen year at Spelman and my last year because I decided to leave after what happened to me," the first tweet read.

The account went on to recount a story about partying with upperclassmen, including some from Morehouse College in Atlanta.

"I was drunk but that doesn't mean I forgot about what happened. I went to the bathroom upstairs to throw up and when I opened the door I was…surrounded by 4 Morehouse students who took me to another room and took turns raping me," the tweets say.

Spelman — a private women's college — and Morehouse, a men's college, are historically black colleges, and akin to brother-sister schools.

The anonymous poster said she went to file a report with the dean and with public safety after she was raped but that the school took a month to get back to her. When she did hear back from the dean, she was told that Spelman and Morehouse were "brother & sister so I should give them a pass," according to a tweet.

"I don't want to be at a school that does not make me feel safe and wants to silence me," the account tweeted. "Spelman has taught me to be a free thinking woman and also to be a woman who has to keep her mouths closed to protect her "brothers."

The president of Morehouse said the school's Office of Campus Safety has been "activated" to fully investigate the claims "with the limited information" available.

"Sexual assault is a heinous form of violence and it is a stark contradiction to Morehouse College at its best," John Silvanus Wilson Jr. said in a statement. "The information anonymously shared on Twitter was our very first indication of this incident. Now that we are aware of these allegations, we are determined to pursue the investigation to the fullest extent possible."

The Atlanta Police Department said it did not have "any knowledge" of the incident and thus was not currently investigating the case.

As university officials pledged to investigate, the allegations continued to light up social media.

Students used the #RapedAtSpelman and #RapedbyMorehouse to protest what they say is a culture of impunity and victim silencing.

Last November, Spelman and Morehouse were added to the Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights' list of schools under federal investigation for allegedly violating Title IX, the federal law that bans sex discrimination in education. The list includes more than 100 colleges and universities nationwide, which often get added after complaints of officials mishandling sexual assault cases.

As officials at Spelman investigated the @RapedAtSpelman tweets, the college's president wrote a letter updating the community on the college's Title IX efforts.

"Sexual violence of any kind is destructive to our students, our academic environment and our sense of social justice," Campbell wrote Wednesday, adding that the school "has been at work actively building a larger Title IX team," including a new compliance director.

Spelman also is reviewing its training materials related to sexual violence, she wrote.

"All materials and communications will continue to make it unambiguously clear that 'blaming the victim is unacceptable,'" the letter said.