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Freshman Commits Suicide After Alleged Rape By Notre Dame Football Player

Freshman Commits Suicide After Alleged Rape By Notre Dame Football Player

In yet another horrifying suicide story, a freshman at St. Mary’s College, a private Catholic liberal arts school near Notre Dame, died earlier this semester in what appeared to be a suicide, nine days after reporting being raped by a Notre Dame football player.  Two months later, the player remains on the field, and Notre Dame is refusing to publicly acknowledge the case.

Lizzy Seeburg, the young woman who was assaulted, died in her room of an apparent overdose on prescription medication during the third week of classes.  She had battled depression in the past.  Campus authorities did not mention the fact that she had reported sexual assault when police began to investigate her death, nor did they refer the case to the county’s special victims unit.

“She was so excited and so enthusiastic about starting the year off right,” said one of Seeburg’s close friends. “She had a whole plan about what she was going to be.”

According to the Chicago Tribune, Seeburg suddenly became self-conscious on Notre Dame’s campus following the assault, fearing that “people would dislike her for accusing a Notre Dame athlete of a sex crime and that she would wear the incident ‘like a scarlet letter’ throughout her college career.”  According to the death invesigation written by the county police department, she had gone to a counselor and expressed suicidal thoughts between the attack and her death.

Both Notre Dame and St. Mary’s are dodging the story, which does a serious disservice to the effort to end sexual assault on both campuses.  Writing for Jezebel, Anna North points out, “Both are acting like the investigation and coverage of an assault are embarrassing to them, when the exact opposite should be true — institutions should be ashamed of themselves when they hide sexual violence, when they pretend it never happens, when they act like they are somehow above all that.”

The fact that her friends and counselor didn’t see the warning signs is alarming, too.  As a college student, it reminds me of the desperate need for better mental health counseling, as well as a campus climate that does not stigmatize victims of sexual assault as well as people suffering from depression.  It seems that Lizzy Seeburg was one of the terrible victims of a campus climate of silence, one that certainly doesn’t only exist at these two Indiana colleges.

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260 comments

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9:52PM PST on Dec 10, 2011

Uhhh... are we talking about Penn State here? I think I'm mixing the two schools up because the stories are similar...

8:39AM PDT on Jun 7, 2011

Lizzy Seeburg was raped by the player and the school administration. Covering up a rape is criminal. The fact that the school dismissed the rape says a lot about them as a whole. I would not want to attend the school, nor would I want my children there. My heart goes out to Lizzy Seeburg, who already had battled depression. Prayer for her and may she get solace wherever she is.

9:19AM PDT on Jun 1, 2011

The 'good people' at this university believe that they have the 'god-given' right to challenge an innocent woman's rights, JUST because the young FOOTBALL PLAYER was a valuable asset to their team!
By the way, I immediately made a strong comment about it in the local newspaper, and they barred me from further comments. How's THAT for control in this city?

8:45PM PDT on May 21, 2011

This 'higher than thou' attitude of this school needs someone to put them in their place. Unfortunately, that doesn't look like it's going to happen anytime soon. Another gal was also sexually assaulted w/in less than 2 weeks later & that too, has been sadly covered up & no charges filed. Her dad is a former prosecutor, so at least he was on them to do their job properly, which, they obviously didn't. They actually told him to stop badgering them! Again, the Catholic Religion of Sexual Abuse of others, wins out. BUT, not in the grand scheme of things. It may take a while, but all guilty parties involved, WILL pay one day. For now, the Nation needs to be much more aware of how dangerous this school & others are, for their daughters to attend, or spend time at. The hell w/prestige! Rape is all about 'power'. ND feels they are more powerful & superior than others, so, why not protect the guilty? Between that & the Catholic Bull Shit status, I would NEVER want my kids to go there!

6:05AM PST on Mar 5, 2011

When I was in college (over thirty years ago, back in the Pleistocene Age) I was date-raped by a football player from the Ivy League college I attended. Because I had met him in a bar and been stupid enough to allow him to take me home, I felt guilty that it was my fault and never reported it. I was a big, tall girl, but he was so forceful with me I had to go to the clinic the next day because my back was in such a spasm I could barely move - yet I didn't even consider reporting what had really happened, because I knew I would be told it was all my fault- especially given the climate on-campus venerating football players as gods.

It was painfully clear this young man felt entitled to take the sex he wanted from me, whether I wanted to cooperate or not, because he was who he was: he deserved it, and he was invulnerable. We see the same behavior in our sports celebrities splashed across the tabloids every day - and how many of them walk scot-free, or get only a token slap on the wrist for their bad behavior?

Until this climate elevating sports figures to godlike status and blaming women for "asking for it" truly changes, things like this girl's sad death will continue to happen. It is quite apparent from this story that very little has changed about this since thirty years ago when I was her age, and that makes me very sad.

9:11PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

As I said you don't want the truth you only want to justify.

6:53PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

I'm aware that it serves an agenda to falsely portray a non-rape sexual assault as a rape, Jewels - but that doesn't do any victim any favors.

And acknowledging that the young woman reported an assault that was not a rape doesn't justify the assault - nothing justifies a sexual assault. It just means that it wasn't rape.

Don't want to believe the victim's own story? Up to you.

6:41PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

That is a "report" of what she said.

I have been close to a few of these cases back in my college days.

As I said you will believe what you want with no interest in solving the problem this brings up.

It is too late for this young lady but I refuse to allow you to cause other woman and girls in the same position to back down and not speak up because people like you make it difficult. If this has happened to you it takes every ounce of your energy just to make it to the next day. I really have no respect for all your arguements at this point. You just want to be "right". You can comment all day and you will never justify the actions of all involved who stick to the ol boys network. Those days are over.

5:58PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Jewels, all we can know of the incident is what the woman herself reported. On the assumption that she reported what actually happened.

For some reason, you appear unwilling to accept the young woman's own statement of what happened to her.

"....she reported to University police that she'd been improperly touched by a football player on the night of August 31....."

http://abcnews.go.com/US/family-lizzy-seeberg-college-freshman-accused-notre-dame/story?id=12448195

"....reporting that she had been fondled against her will...."

http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-sports-guru/2010/12/the-federal-case-of-lizzy-seeberg-and-notre-dame-football.html

"....Her allegations did not describe penetration...."

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2010-12-16/news/ct-met-notre-dame-seeberg-20101216_1_campus-police-notre-dame-handling/2

5:26PM PST on Mar 1, 2011

Lindsay you don't know the real facts. They passed with the young lady. Broken system can be fixed by many means and squelched info is not lies.

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