Vanderbilt Rape Retrial Exposes Growing Problem

Posted at 10:10 PM, Jun 20, 2016
and last updated 2016-06-20 23:22:14-04
Before there was a verdict, before there were cameras and before there was ever a trial, there was one girl at a bar with a man she trusted; a man who would change her life the day he raped her inside Gillette Hall.
"In most sexual assault cases it is someone that the survivor knows and trusts / so there's that added layer of betrayal," says Amber Stevenson of the Sexual Assault Center in Nashville.
As the center's clinical director it is Amber Stevenson's job to talk to people every day, just like the victim at the center of the Vanderbilt Rape case.
"I think we always worry, will this prevent other survivors from coming forward," she says.
For her the case showed two things she already knew. This first is that even when there is concrete physical video evidence of a rape it's still tough to get a conviction.
"In a case like this where there is so much physical evidence and here we are three years later just getting a conviction. It's very disheartening," Amber adds.
It also shows a darker side of college culture. So many people saw the victim was in trouble, saw her unconscious and being carried into Brandon Vandenburg's dorm room. So many people, who said nothing.
"There were so many points in this case where someone could've intervened and didn't," she said during an interview on Monday, just two days after Vandenburg was found guilty of aggravated rape for a second time.
If any good can come of this, Amber sees it starting a conversation we need to have, because if not she knows it is only a matter of time before it happens again.
"In a tragic case like this there is still hope and there is still healing"

Any time a case like this stays at the forefront of the media's attention, Amber said it will trigger other victims to come forward.

She encouraged anyone who think they may be a victim to call the Crisis and Support Line: 1-800-879-1999