Until this week, Leah Francis was probably best known as an Alaska distance running champ from her days at Juneau-Douglas High School.
That all changed after she went public saying she was forcibly raped by a fellow Stanford University undergraduate while in Juneau.
Leah Francis came out as a rape survivor, and as an activist indignant over Stanford University’s in-house adjudication process.
“No one wants to do the Alternate Review Process, it’s super-traumatizing. I mean, it, it, it drags out, it’s mishandled.”
The university panel formally concluded the male student did sexually assault Francis. The decision was based on a university investigation and statements from both sides, according to university documents via The Stanford Daily.
The university has kept the male student’s name confidential, and Francis declined to name him; she wants to keep the focus on the bigger issues.
Like the university’s consequence for rape. The panel recommended 40 hours of community service, a sexual assault awareness education class and a five quarter suspension. That suspension wouldn’t take effect until the summer, which Francis says, is after her assailant graduates.
It’s a slap on the wrist, she says, that “invites my rapist back to campus” for grad school.
“In the end, you have a sense of futility. Like, you’ve, you’ve spent, you know, months of your life, reliving one of the worst nights of your life and you don’t get anything out of it.”
She emailed out her story on Tuesday, and has been riding the wave of support since. Thursday night, she said, “I haven’t eaten today, and haven’t slept in 48 hours.”
Earlier, Francis had led hundreds of students in a campus rally and protest to raise awareness about sexual assault and to demand reforms. They want mandatory expulsion for sexual assault, as well as better resources for victims.
Students yelled in unison for administrators to “Stand with Leah.” They plastered campus surfaces with posters and signs incorporating the #StandWithLeah hashtag, and blew it up on Twitter.
“This was awesome, I mean, today was more healing for me than anything that’s happened since I was raped.”
And, she’s gotten a lot of media attention.
Francis says a criminal case is also open with the Juneau Police Department; the incident happened in Juneau early on New Year’s Day. She says she was in no condition to consent when it began — drunk and unconscious. Police could not be reached for comment by deadline.
- A new court case argues that the way in which state juries are selected in Alaska discriminates against rural, Native communities. The case could significantly impact the Delta’s court system if it’s successful.
- When a school closes in rural Alaska, families who stay face tough choices. They can send their children away to school in another village or city, or they can home school their kids. Clark’s Point fought for a third option, to reopen their school. The school, which closed in 2012, will be back in session next week.
- So far no reports of injuries in large fire that continues to burn at large, remote salmon processing plant on the Alaska Peninsula. One dock was cut away, and production facilities heavily damaged according to on-the-ground reports.
- Orutsararmiut Native Council held its first Science and Culture camp in July for high school students. Campers collected juvenile fish, like baby king and red salmon, and participated in activities in avian biology, ethnobotany and workshops on federal and state subsistence management.