Dear America, Stop Oversimplifying Sexual Assault
Start writing a post
Health and Wellness

Dear America, Stop Oversimplifying Sexual Assault

Our leaders are only contributing to the stigma.

46
Dear America, Stop Oversimplifying Sexual Assault
Flickr

Changing the guidelines for how colleges should approach campus sexual assault is not something that should be overlooked or dismissed as another topic in this week’s news cycle.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos issued temporary new rules on Sept. 22 that, if made permanent, will grant more leniencies toward those accused of sexual assault. The Trump Administration believes that reversing the Obama Administration’s guidelines will provide everyone with “more confidence in [the process’] outcomes”, commented DeVos, according to The Guardian.

DeVos expects that the new guidelines will help all students be treated “fairly”, but there is one inherent flaw: her guidelines operate on the assumption that survivors of sexual assault lie.

According to National Sexual Violence Resource Center, it is incredibly difficult to determine when there are false reports made about sexual assault since investigative techniques vary. When comparing the Obama-era guidelines to the newly proposed guidelines, The Guardian reported, “Under Obama’s instructions from 2011 and 2014, colleges were notified the department expected them to use ‘the preponderance of the evidence’ standards, while DeVos lets colleges choose between that standard and ‘the clear and convincing evidence standard.’”

As it stands, DeVos’ guidelines will permit the leeway that the Center cautions against, indicating that her guidelines will do greater harm to investigations. The Center also reported, “Misconceptions about false reporting rates have direct, negative consequences and can contribute to why many victims don’t report sexual assaults.”

As of 2015, the Center reported, “One in 5 women and one in 16 men are sexually assaulted while in college.” Additionally, it noted that more than 90 percent of survivors do not report their assault. If you are a survivor, DeVos’ standard will likely be much more difficult to meet because now there will be a policy that supports people’s preconceived notions and prejudices.

As reported by NBC News, National Women’s Law Center President and CEO Fatima Goss Graves stated, “This is not something to rush out. This [guidance] is a mess. This is only creating confusion and may lead to systems that in affect punish survivors.” Of particular concern to Goss Graves is a footnote that states, “The standard of evidence for evaluating a claim of sexual misconduct should be consistent with the standard the school applies in other student misconduct cases”, in effect, putting these claims on par with misconduct such as plagiarism or cheating.

If DeVos’ guidelines are enacted, the likelihood that statistics will lower for how many survivors do not come forth seems unlikely. Even if we maintain Article 11 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states that anyone charged is presumed innocent until proven guilty in a court of law, it does not mean that measures on campuses should be taken only after the accused is tried, which could take several years. There has to also be consideration for the person reporting the assault, which the current administration seems set against.

The psychological distress that the updated Title IX Policy may put on survivors for the sake of the accused should make everyone — from the public to the legislative branch — hesitant. Moreover, if there is going to be reform, it should be for the right reasons.

Reform should not come because the Trump Administration wants to simply “clean house” of the former administration’s policies. It should not come because they think that survivors are liars or because reporting sexual assault could “ruin the accused’s life.” If anything, often the accused receive more sympathy than those who many people label as “whistle blowers.”

Our campuses need to be better educated with regard to sexual assault. There needs to be a consistent standard for how it is investigated and processed by law enforcement and campuses, and it should not be changed because there is some deep-seeded need to reverse former policies.

Overall, our leaders need to stop oversimplifying sexual assault and in turn, contributing to the stigma that already surrounds assault as a whole.

Report this Content
This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.
Lifestyle

TikTok Made Me Buy It: Flawless's Skincare Fridge

I bought and tested one of TikTok's popular products so you don't have to.

726

I spend a lot of time on TikTok and I never know whether the products I see are worth it or not, especially when I'm looking at the price. For Christmas, my aunt got me a gift card to Ulta. I didn't know what to buy. I have way too many palettes and lipsticks. I have my essentials. What else could I need? Then it hit me that I saw a lot of people these past few months showing off their skincare fridges. So, the second I thought of it I went on the Ulta app and bought it. So, here are my thoughts.

Keep Reading... Show less
Lifestyle

37 Cute And Unique Pinterest Board Titles

Let's be real, the hardest part about Pinterest is thinking of a cute title for your board.

392

I don't know about anyone else but I have recently become re-obsessed with Pinterest. Like, I am spending a stupid amount of time on Pinterest daily now. While I have been binging Pinterest I have found that I love making cute and aesthetic boards but it is SO hard to come up with a name to match it. So, I scoured the internet and my brain for you. Happy pinning!

Keep Reading... Show less
Featured

This Is What Type Of Person You Are Based On Your Favorite Cereal

Your cereal preference reveals more than you think.

280
Photo by Nyana Stoica on Unsplash

Whether you eat cereal for breakfast or a late-night snack, you probably have a favorite. Little did you know that what you prefer says a lot about your personality.

Keep Reading... Show less
Alexis Hoffman

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we all know that cutting out social interaction has taken its toll.

Keep Reading... Show less
Health and Wellness

I Asked Instagram How 2020 Was, And Maybe It Wasn't The Worst Year Ever

2020 is a year to remember but it's not as bad as we made it out to be.

31600

It's finally 2021 and we're honestly all just happy that 2020 is over. I decided to ask my Instagram followers how they felt about 2020 and the results were a little more mixed up than expected.

Keep Reading... Show less

Ever since I watched "How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days," I've been a major Matthew McConaughey fan. I've seen most of his movies, and I definitely got way too excited when he finally made an Instagram! So when he announced he would be releasing a memoir titled "Greenlights," I knew I absolutely had to get my hands on this book. And so did the rest of the world, as the book began to flood social media.

Truthfully, I would much rather read a fiction book and dive into another world than read a nonfiction book - even if it is one of my favorite celebrities. But I had a feeling this book wouldn't disappoint or bore.

Keep Reading... Show less
Entertainment

The Armie Hammer Scandal Discourse Is Kink Shaming And Harming Actual Victims

The rumors surrounding Armie Hammer has resulted in some very toxic and harmful discourse.

9690

Sex is something that occupies a very significant place in our lives. Even asexual people can have an active sex life. With the various types of people that comprise this world, it obviously results in various sexual interests. And unconventional people can engage in some pretty unconventional sex practices. Even the most conventional people on the surface might surprise us with their sexual fantasies.

Keep Reading... Show less
Facebook Comments