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Protesters gather on campus for Tanisha Crisp and other victims of MST, and racial injustice

Zach Yearwood, News Editor

Dozens of members of the UNF community gathered Saturday on the green to protest on behalf of Tanisha Crisp, an Army ROTC student who says the school mishandled the investigation of a sexual misconduct claim she filed last November.

Multiple campus groups including Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), the Women’s Center and student veterans came out Saturday afternoon to stand up against military sexual trauma (MST) and for Black Lives Matter.

Protesters stood on the green for about an hour and a half. Several survivors of sexual assault shared their experiences.

Destiny Webb, who organized the event said she heard Crisp’s story through the Black Lives Matter – Clay County Facebook group.

“I wanted to do it because I’m also a victim of sexual assault, since childhood,” Webb said.

The officer Crisp accused of sexual misconduct was moved to a different command. However, Crisp told Spinnaker in June that she believed the school’s Title IX office did not address her accusation in a timely manner.

The group marched from the green to Peace Plaza, bellowing chants like “I stand with Tanish. I stand with Vanessa. I stand with survivors” and “Support our troops.” Organizers stopped in front of Martin Luther King, Jr.’s statue and spoke.

“We need to make sure we hold this university accountable,” said Katie Chorvak, a U.S. Army veteran studying construction management. “If this university doesn’t investigate, it’s no longer safe for veterans to go here.”

The issue of MST has been re-ignited in recent weeks after the death of Vanessa Guillen at Fort Hood in Killeen, Texas. Since her death in April, two other service members’ bodies have been found on the base.

The Department of Defense Annual Report on Sexual Assault in the Military estimates that in 2018, about 20,500 service members experienced some kind of contact or penetrative sexual assault.

According to the 2019 report, the number of sexual assault reports from military members rose to an all-time high of 6,236. This increase could be seen as the beginning of a culture change within the military. Survivors – both male and female – are choosing to come forward in larger numbers.

A report is not always enough, however. Many victims choose not to report their incidents to their chains of command out of fear of retaliation from their superiors. In many instances, the abuser is a direct superior in their own chain of command.

Chorvak says she and others are pushing to take investigations out of the hands of the chain of command.

“Take it out of the military […] Civilian counterparts investigating along CID but having the authority to recommend prosecution, reporting sexual assault to the civilians and having your identity sealed.”

After the main protest on campus, a small group went to St. Johns Town Center and walked the strip holding signs and chanting “Black Lives Matter.”


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Comments (1)

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    TanishaAug 16, 2020 at 9:55 am

    It’s not going to happen because it would’ve been done already. It’s just something she’ll have to deal with. Just like the rest of us! Put on your big girl panties and move on. What happened happened as long as it wasn’t rape they could care less.