Betsy DeVos' Suggested Title IX Guidelines Perpetuates Rape Culture

Betsy DeVos' Proposed Title IX Provisions Proves That She Doesn't Care About Survivors of Sexual Violence

No student should have to constantly worry about the very real possibility of being sexually assaulted while at school.

105
views

It is a well-known fact that college students are at an increased risk of being sexually assaulted, so it would make sense for the Department of Education to do everything in their power to protect college students. However, this is the exact opposite of what is actually happening.

Betsy DeVos, the Secretary of Education, has proven through her suggested Title IX guidelines that she does not care about the wellbeing of students. Title IX is a federal civil rights law that is meant to make sure there is gender equality in educational institutions. DeVos' suggested provisions would specifically target students that are survivors of sexual assault and make it much harder for them to get the justice that they deserve.

These suggested guidelines want to make the definition of sexual misconduct more extreme so that it forces students to have to wait longer to report the harassment they have been facing. The new definition of sexual misconduct would be

"unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex that is so severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive that it effectively denies a person equal access to the recipient's education program or activity."

Students should not be told that the behavior of their harassers does not warrant the label of sexual misconduct because it has not happened at a high enough frequency or because it has not been damaging enough. Sexual harassment should not happen in any capacity. It is dangerous to give students no option but to wait until the harassment has become unbearable in order for someone to finally help them.

To make matters even worse, survivors have to report directly to the school's Title IX coordinator in order to receive help and protection from their school. I know that some of you may hear this and say "Well, duh, you have to talk to the people in charge of Title IX in order to get them to take action." However, this is not fair to the survivors. It takes an immense amount of courage and strength to say that you have experienced sexual violence, and the Title IX coordinator may not be the person that the student trusts enough to share their story.

Even if a student does decide to report the sex crime to a Title IX coordinator, their abuser may not even be found guilty if the evidence that is presented is not "clear and convincing." This higher standard of evidence for Title IX cases only harms the survivors by having them treated "more harshly than victims of other discriminatory campus crimes."

And according to DeVos' proposed guidelines, if a student experienced assault or harassment outside of the school's campus, then the school is no longer held responsible. Even though most forms of sexual violence take place at off-campus bars and housing, the school would no longer be under any obligation to rectify the situation. Instead of making the students best interest a priority, DeVos has made saving schools money a priority by lowering their amount of sexual misconduct cases.

The most horrifying part of all of the suggested provisions is that it would provide more protections for the people accused of sexual misconduct. They would be able to "participate in a live cross-examination of the alleged victim through a third party (although this does not apply fully to K-12 incidents)."

It is disgusting that this is even a possibility. This guideline was only created because of the ridiculous belief that most men are victims of false rape accusations. DeVos is a supporter of this belief even though it has been proven to be false. The number of rape accusations that are false fall between 2-10%. However, only 35% of all sexual assaults get reported. This means that there are even more people suffering in silence than there are men that have to face a false accusation. And in case you are asking yourself why those survivors do not come forward, it is because of people like DeVos that encourage the delusions of men's rights activists.

Without fail, society shows survivors of sexual assault just how little they care about their experiences because of the mistreatment that survivors have faced when they did come forward. They are called liars and whores and often face death threats. Why would this behavior encourage anyone to share their story? Why would anyone put themselves through that abuse just to give a false accusation?

DeVos' proposed guidelines further encourage men to sexually harass, assault, and rape women because now they know they would have the full support of their school if they were accused of sexual misconduct. No student should have to constantly worry about the very real possibility of being sexually assaulted while at school. We are the future of our nation and it is about time that we are treated with the respect that we deserve.

Popular Right Now

The Post Grad Phase No One Talks About

Graduation is all fun and games until you remember everything you're leaving behind.

8824
views

"Congratulations!" It's such a small, exciting word. The weekend I graduated from college, this was the only word I seemed to hear. It left me feeling confused. Congrats on leaving all my best friends behind? Congrats on never finding comfort in that morning stroll across campus again? Congrats on leaving a town I have called home? Congrats on leaving the school that has taught me some of the most valuable lessons? I just couldn't seem to find the excitement in this word-- all I could think about were the things I was going to miss.

5 -- The Local Restaurants, Bars, Shops

To be completely honest, it's almost insulting having to leave behind all of the restaurants, bars, and shops in your college town. After years, you have finally found all of your favorite hot spots-- places to day drink and avoid going to class, a spot to grab a pizza to celebrate a Friday, a boutique for a last minute game day outfit, and even your favorite local coffee shop.

So, it doesn't quite qualify as a restaurant or a bar, but the local Target (that closed at midnight!!) was my hot spot. My roommate and I would go there for any and all reasons. We would go to buy school supplies to mark a new school year. We'd go late at night to buy our favorite binge worthy snacks. On our many and short "let's be healthy binges" we would buy a ton of fruits and vegetables we never ate. We spent a ton on Christmas decorations and Valentine's Day candy. The house that built me, ya know what I mean?

4 -- The Campus

You walk on campus so many times during your college career. Unfortunately, most of the time, you take your surroundings for granted. But remember these things: the campus saw you on your worst and your best days, the campus saw you crying to your mom on the phone when you knew you had to change your major, your campus saw you when you got the call letting you know you got into graduate school, and these buildings let you sit on the steps when you needed a chance to breathe between classes.

You'll take all of these buildings and campus surroundings for granted, until it's your last walk. My last walk around campus as a student was hard. It was suddenly even more beautiful than I remembered. It had been my home for four years, and somehow four years had gone by in a blink of an eye.

3 -- Game Days

If you're fortunate enough to go to a football school, you know how fun game days are. Game days in the south are all about dressing your best, getting up early to tailgate (because you can't drink all day if you don't start early), and cheering on your team. You get to spend an entire day with all of your best friends at your favorite school.

It's weird leaving the student section for the last time. I remember we all looked around and said "Thanks Bryant Denny," knowing we'd for sure be back in the fall as alumni, but our time as student fans had officially come to an end. One of the hardest things about this goodbye is that it's the first goodbye you really have as a senior. When the season comes to a close, you have yet to finish your first semester, but you realize how fast it's flying by.

2 -- Greek Life

Similar to game days, if you were lucky enough to join Greek life, you know how hard it is to leave. Going to a big school, you realize how communal Greek life has made your college experience. Somehow, everyone knows everyone. You start seeing the same faces around campus, and it's served as a comfort for you. You have made endless friendships in your house, but you've also made friends in other houses. The people in your house have become your family for four years.

I ate every single meal at my house. I studied for all my exams at my house. I complained to my friends about annoying classes. I celebrated my successes and the successes of others at my house. I found my people at my house.

1 -- Your People

Your people are what you'll miss the most. Your people are the reason the word "congratulations" is so daunting. You're leaving your support system. Your people are starting jobs or continuing their education, but not with you. Your people will be scattered all across the country.

This is the absolute hardest part of leaving college. This is the reason I cried all the way home with my car packed to the brim. My girls have been with me through the good and the bad for four years. Even weeks after graduating, it's hard to write this without shedding a few tears. To my girls: I already miss Netflix and wine nights, I miss Snapchats after a night out at the bars, and I miss walking over to your houses just to do homework. You are all so special to me, and I will be cheering you all on throughout your next adventures. Can't wait to plan many trips together!

You will miss these things, and this phase will be one you'll go through. But the point of the matter is, you'll have these memories and these people forever. So, congratulations! Congratulations on an unforgettable college experience. Your future is bright.

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Saying You "Don't Take Political Stances" IS A Political Stance

All you're doing by saying this is revealing your privilege to not care politically, and here's why that's a problem.

bethkrat
bethkrat
646
views

I'm sure all of us know at least one person who refuses to engage in political discussions - sure, you can make the argument that there is a time and a place to bring up the political happenings of our world today, but you can't possibly ignore it all the time. You bring up the last ridiculous tweet our president sent or you try to discuss your feelings on the new reproductive regulation bills that are rising throughout the states, and they find any excuse to dip out as quickly as possible. They say I don't talk about politics, or I'm apolitical. Well everyone, I'm here to tell you why that's complete bullsh*t.

Many people don't have the luxury and privilege of ignoring the political climate and sitting complacent while terrible things happen in our country. So many issues remain a constant battle for so many, be it the systematic racism that persists in nearly every aspect of our society, the fact that Flint still doesn't have clean water, the thousands of children that have been killed due to gun violence, those drowning in debt from unreasonable medical bills, kids fighting for their rights as citizens while their families are deported and separated from them... you get the point. So many people have to fight every single day because they don't have any other choice. If you have the ability to say that you just don't want to have anything to do with politics, it's because you aren't affected by any failing systems. You have a privilege and it is important to recognize it.

Martin Luther King Jr. once said, "history will have to record that the greatest tragedy of this period of social transition was not the strident clamor of the bad people, but the appalling silence of the good people."

We recognize that bad people exist in this world, and we recognize that they bring forth the systems that fail so many people every single day, but what is even more important to recognize are the silent majority - the people who, by engaging in neutrality, enable and purvey the side of the oppressors by doing nothing for their brothers and sisters on the front lines.

Maybe we think being neutral and not causing conflict is supposed to be about peacekeeping and in some way benefits the political discussion if we don't try to argue. But if we don't call out those who purvey failing systems, even if it's our best friend who says something homophobic, even if it's our representatives who support bills like the abortion ban in Alabama, even if it's our president who denies the fact that climate change is killing our planet faster than we can hope to reverse it, do we not, in essence, by all accounts of technicality side with those pushing the issues forward? If we let our best friend get away with saying something homophobic, will he ever start to change his ways, or will he ever be forced to realize that what he's said isn't something that we can just brush aside? If we let our representatives get away with ratifying abortion bans, how far will the laws go until women have no safe and reasonable control over their own bodily decisions? If we let our president continue to deny climate change, will we not lose our ability to live on this planet by choosing to do nothing?

We cannot pander to people who think that being neutral in times of injustice is a reasonable stance to take. We cannot have sympathy for people who decide they don't want to care about the political climate we're in today. Your attempts at avoiding conflict only make the conflict worse - your silence in this aspect is deafening. You've given ammunition for the oppressors who take your silence and apathy and continue to carry forth their oppression. If you want to be a good person, you need to suck it up and take a stand, or else nothing is going to change. We need to raise the voices of those who struggle to be heard by giving them the support they need to succeed against the opposition.

With all this in mind, just remember for the next time someone tells you that they're apolitical: you know exactly which side they're on.

bethkrat
bethkrat

Related Content

Facebook Comments