Exposing Rape at Baylor University amid College Football's Sexual Assault Crisis


By Paula Lavigne

By Mark Schlabach

Read by Therese Plummer

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Written by ESPN investigative reporters Violated narrates the sexual abuse by members of Baylor’s football team and the university’s attempt to silence the victims. A portion of the proceeds will be donated to RAINN to help fight sexual abuse.

Throughout its history, Baylor University has presented itself as something special: As the world’s largest Baptist university, it was unabashedly Christian. It condemned any sex outside of marriage, and drinking alcohol was grounds for dismissal. Students weren’t even allowed to dance on campus until 1996.

During the last several years, however, Baylor officials were hiding a dark secret: Female students were being sexually assaulted at an alarming rate. Baylor administrators did very little to help victims, and their assailants rarely faced discipline for their abhorrent behavior.

Finally, after a pair of high-profile criminal cases involving football players, an independent examination of Baylor’s handling of allegations of sexual assault led to sweeping changes, including the unprecedented ouster of its president, athletics director, and popular, highly successful football coach.

For several years, campuses and sports teams across the country have been plagued with accusations of sexual violence, and they’ve been criticized for how they responded to the students involved. But Baylor stands out. A culture reigned in which people believed that any type of sex, especially violent non-consensual sex, simply “doesn’t happen here.” Yet it was happening. Many people within Baylor’s leadership knew about it. And they chose not to act.

Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach weave together the complex – and at times contradictory – narrative of how a university and football program ascending in national prominence came crashing down amidst the stories of woman after woman coming forward describing their assaults, and a university system they found indifferent to their pain.


  • "Lavigne and Schlabach have dug deep on the No. 1 scourge in college athletics. Violence against women in any form is unacceptable and yet it has been enabled (at least) by those who either don't want to know or are actively covering up. College athletics in general has been woefully weak in addressing this issue. Thanks to 'Violated' the game is about to change. This is not only a Baylor problem; it is a national problem brought to light by the fine reporting of the authors."
    p.p1 {margin: 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px 0.0px; font: 10.0px Helvetica}span.s1 {font-kerning: none}Dennis Dodd, Senior Reporter, CBS Sports
  • "VIOLATED is the most comprehensive book about college football sexual assault to date. It exposes all of the components of a destructive, win-at-all-costs football culture that shelters predators and cultivates a destructive campus environment. The book gives an in depth, explicit view at the toll on victims when a university decides to afford protection to an elite, powerful group of students and administrators rather than its most vulnerable and injured. It is a cautionary tale about what happens when a university allows an athletic department to operate under autonomy and insulate itself from protocols, procedures, and even laws. VIOLATED describes in painful, gut-wrenching detail, a university who sacrificed character, its Christian values, and moral decency for a run at college football greatness and the entrenched system that supported it. VIOLATED is a must read for athletes, coaches, administrators, and politicians who are committed to understanding the culture surrounding sexual assault that has led to its epidemic status and the inarguable need for Title IX guidelines. VIOLATED literally kept me awake at night, not only reading it, but absorbing the many similarities to my own college experience at Nebraska."
    Katherine Redmond, founder, National Coalition Against Violent Athletes
  • "Through a comprehensive timeline and the stories of survivors, VIOLATED exposes our societies "win-at-all-cost" attitude and the devastation that ensues when we value winning more than human life. The harrowing intersection of sports and violence is undeniable and VIOLATED gives us a look at how things can go so terribly wrong while also celebrating the heroic courage of sexual assault survivors.
    A must-read for everyone, you will be disturbed and horrified by the details, but you will also be better prepared to confront a culture that dismisses, ignores and minimizes the impact of sexual violence on its victims and our campus communities. There is no other more pressing issue on our college campuses than sexual violence. There is no other crime aside from murder that is more devastating for its victims and families. There is no other book needed more right now than VIOLATED."
    Brenda Tracy, survivor and activist
  • "VIOLATED is meticulously researched and reported by Lavigne and Schlabach. It's a deep-sea dive into the cold, dark waters of a Baylor program undone by its indifference ... and worse."
    Gene Wojciechowski, ESPN College GameDay reporter, and author of The Last Great Game: Duke vs. Kentucky and the 2.1 Seconds That Changed Basketball
  • "Authors Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach - who spent years reporting on Baylor for ESPN in advance of this book - meticulously lay out how exactly each of those levees failed before the entire campus was submerged by this flood."
    Zach Barnett,
  • "VIOLATED is a heavy read, but it's important work by Lavigne and Schlabach, who were at the forefront of reporting the story as it unfolded in real time. Though in many ways it feels from the outside like Baylor is on a better trajectory and much of the world has moved on from the scandal, the book reminds us why it can't be forgotten."
    Dan Wolken, USA TODAY Sports
  • ESPN reporters Lavigne and Schlabach spare no detail in this shocking account of rampant sexual violence at one of America's most revered religious universities. Between 2011 and 2015, there were 125 reports of sexual assault at Baylor University in Waco, Tex., according to the school's legal office, though other school officials suggest the number of assaults was much higher. In that period, 17 women reported allegations of sexual assault or domestic violence involving 19 Baylor University football players. Using extensive research, including interviews with victims, coaches, players, and university officials, Lavigne and Schlabach chronicle the ways the football program fueled a hostile and abusive environment toward women and the school's epic failure to address it. The damning account is made all the more horrific by graphic descriptions of the abuse-including multiple gang rapes-and the authors show how the school's administrators, who refused to believe that a school with such deep Christian roots could foster an environment for sexual assault, built a "doesn't happen here" culture that resulted in both implicit and explicit victim blaming among campus officials. In one instance, a student had to recount her sexual assault to 27 people before she was allowed to switch majors to avoid encountering her alleged attacker. This is a comprehensive and disturbing account of a particularly stark example of an epidemic facing American universities. (Aug.)
    Publishers Weekly
  • "Through the painstaking research of VIOLATED, Paula Lavigne and Mark Schlabach illustrate what happens when the voices of survivors of gender based violence are ignored, or silenced. The epidemic of campus sexual assault is given voice by 17 women at Baylor University, and through their stories we are given a clear window into rape culture, and the structures of power that perpetuate abuse. The stories in VIOLATED are a testament to the bravery of survivors, and the passion of Lavigne and Schlabach for justice. VIOLATED is an excellent book, and a crash course on the importance of listening to survivors, believing their story, and mobilizing the create change."
    Anne K. Ream, author of Lived Through This, founder of The Voices and Faces Project
  • "The book effectively portrayed each victim as more than just victims, digging into their background, showing each woman to be a regular person with lives that were derailed due to their treatment at Baylor University.[..] Lavigne and Schlabach reach past the shell of the assaults and got down into the twisted system in which Baylor officials would punish women for being at the parties where their rape occurred rather than punishing the rapists themselves."
    Will Stone, The Daily Nebraskan
  • "VIOLATED is an inspiring story of a woman who refused to remain silent and decided to openly tell the world that she had been raped by football player Tevin Elliott. That had a domino effect and several other women broke their silence and spoke up about football player Tevin Elliott as well as other sports icons. It is also an indictment of our social system which victims of rape are named and shamed. VIOLATED inspires and encourages you to speak up against injustice. The moral of this true story is that speaking against injustice is the best way to get justice. This is a book every American must read to understand our social and legal system."
    The Washington Book Review

On Sale
Aug 22, 2017
Hachette Audio

Paula Lavigne

About the Author

PAULA LAVIGNE is an ESPN investigative reporter for television and online, working primarily for the show “Outside the Lines.” She is a specialist in data journalism and statistics. Her work has won several awards, including a 2014 Alfred I. duPont Columbia University Award for an investigative series on high-stakes gambling in youth football. She worked previously as a reporter at The Dallas Morning NewsThe Des Moines Register, and The News-Tribune in Tacoma, Washington.

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Mark Schlabach

About the Author

MARK SCHLABACH is one of the country’s most respected college football reporters and columnists through his work with ESPN. He is a regular contributor to ESPN TV and radio programming, such as Outside the LinesSportsCenterCollege Football LiveCollege GameDay, and College Football Live. He previously worked as a college football and investigative reporter for the Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-Constitution. He is the author or collaborator of more than a dozen books, including seven New York Times best-sellers.

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