Lynchburg area women react to claims of sexual assault against Liberty University


LYNCHBURG, Va. (WFXR) — Twelve women from across the country have filed a multi-plaintiff lawsuit that accuses Liberty University of creating an unsafe campus environment that increases the likelihood of sexual assault and rape.

WFXR News spoke with several women around Lynchburg to find out what they thought about the allegations.

Gracie Applewhite and Willow Litchford attend Sweet Briar College, an all-girls school in Amherst County.

“From what I understand about the campus, I don’t think it’s a safe environment for women,” Applewhite said. “From the girls that I have talked to that have gone to Liberty, transferred from Liberty, or transferred to Liberty, it’s not the same accepting environment or even remotely as safe as other campuses in Virginia.”

“Honestly I’m just very proud of the women who are trying to come out and say something so hopefully a stop will be put to this,” said Litchford.

On Tuesday, July 20, a lawsuit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York on behalf of 12 Jane Does, claiming the university of “enabling on-campus rapes.”

Donna Mitchell tells WFXR News that students planning to attend a Christian university, such as Liberty, should be prepared to follow Christian rules and regulations.

“I find it very hard to believe that at a Christian college, they would allow that to happen if they were aware that it happened and if there are credible reports of that,” Mitchell said.

“I think things can happen anywhere you go so it wouldn’t surprise me if situations were happening,” said Stephanie Lightner, a former student who attended Liberty University in 2017 and 2018. “Liberty is a great college but there are a lot of different people there from a lot of different backgrounds.”

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