Bama Barbz opens anonymous abuse tip line

Eva Kreitman, Contributing Writer

The University of Alabama Nicki Minaj fan Instagram account @BamaBarbz created an anonymous tool for students to report instances of abuse and injustice on campus, and more than 80 students have reported instance of sexual assault, racism or homophobia. 

The account owners encourage their following of primarily UA students to reach out about anything they’ve experienced via the link on the Bama Barbz profile. 

“If there is anything you want to talk about on campus, we’re listening,” the Bama Barbz account owners said in a statement. 

Each time they repost the link, submissions spike again, although the link is always open on their account. 

“We are so thankful for the opportunity to help victims who are afraid of using their own voices to spread their stories and bring awareness to what happens on this campus that no one likes to talk about,” Bama Barbz said in a statement. 

The University offers resources, one of which is the first of its kind in the state of Alabama: the Title IX office. The Women and Gender Resource Center offers free advocacy and counseling services as well as individual and group therapy sessions for survivors of domestic abuse. 

Jackie Northrup, the assistant director of the WGRC, described victim advocacy as an umbrella encompassing safe housing, an academic advocate, financial guidance or even legal advice. 

Anonymously reporting incidents of sexual misconduct to the WGRC is available via phone call, according to the UAct website. However, to report an incident online, the form immediately prompts for a name and contact information. That’s the case for most reporting, particularly to law enforcement, according to Northrup. 

“Without a name, victims can’t get as much justice as they hope to,” she said. “Each situation is context-specific, with pros and cons to making a formal report.”

Virginia Tech student Campbell Heinberg came forward with allegations of domestic abuse against her ex-boyfriend via an Instagram post in early February. The post consists of a smiling photo of a seemingly happy couple followed by a picture of a tearful Heinberg with a battered, scratched face. 

Her testimony has been liked over 240,000 times, with nearly 8,000 comments from women sharing their support for Heinberg and denouncing her ex’s behavior. Bama Barbz reposted Heinberg’s post on their story the next day.

“Everyone needs to hear her story and situations like this happen far too often,” the Bama Barbz account owners captioned the repost. “Especially here at UA as well.” 

This led to the creation of the anonymous reporting link on the Bama Barbz profile and an announcement that the link will be open indefinitely.

Domestic abuse, also called intimate partner violence, is prevalent on college campuses. According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, women between the ages of 18 and 24 are most commonly abused by an intimate partner. 

A report from the U.S. Department of Justice in December 2014 found victimizations of students were significantly less likely to be reported to police than nonstudent victimizations. Student survivors were also more likely than nonstudent survivors to state that the incident was not important enough to report.

A complete list of University resources can be found here.

Questions? Email the news desk at [email protected].