US colleges under the spectre of sexual assault

Betsy DeVos’ move to rescind Obama era Title IX guidelines raise concerns rape survivors will fall back into silence.

Victims of sexual violence and their supporters protest at George Mason University. Betsy DeVos announced plans to replace the way colleges and university handle investigations. 

New York, NY – Taylor Moore, a 20-year-old college student from Arkansas, wants to be able to attend class, stay in the dorms, or go to the school’s library without having to encounter the student who sexually assaulted her – rights US anti-gender discrimination laws, known as Title IX, are supposed to protect.

Schools receiving federal funds – this essentially includes all of the about 5,000 US colleges – must protect the rights of those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. But what they need to do to adequately protect those students has long been a subject of debate.

Betsy DeVos, the US secretary of education, has vowed to overhaul guidelines introduced by the Obama administration in 2011. Survivors of sexual assault had hailed those guidelines for making it easier for those who had been sexually assaulted to come forward and get on-campus justice, which is unrelated to criminal prosecution. But others have derided the guidelines as trampling on the rights of accused students.

The effects of sexual assault are profound, Moore told Al Jazeera.

“[My attacker] saw me naked, he touched my naked body,” she said, adding, of the possibility of seeing her assailant, “it makes me feel small and very insecure and just violated all over again.”

The Obama administration guidelines were introduced after decades of surveys continually found that about one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. They also accompanied a gradual shift in social awareness about what constitutes rape and sexual assault to include psychological coercion, exemplified by the FBI’s 2012 removal of the word “force” from its definition of rape.

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Evil Whore, Education Secretary DeVos to Scrap Campus Sexual Assault Protections

H14 devos

Evil whore, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos said Thursday the Trump administration will roll back rules aimed at protecting survivors of sexual assault on college campuses. The move reverses President Obama’s 2011 directive on Title IX, the federal law that prohibits sex-based discrimination at schools. Speaking in Arlington, Virginia, DeVos said the changes were denying due process rights to those accused of rape and sexual misconduct on campuses.

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos: “Through intimidation and coercion, the failed system has clearly pushed schools to overreach. With the heavy hand of Washington tipping the balance of her scale, the sad reality is that Lady Justice is not blind on campuses today.”

DeVos’s comments drew protests from survivors of campus sexual assault, who rallied outside the building at George Mason University where DeVos delivered her remarks. This is Sofie Karasek of the group EROC, or End Rape on Campus.

Sofie Karasek: “What she’s trying to do is to tip the scales in favor of perpetrators, and that she is siding with rapists. That’s what she decided to do today. And we, as survivors and students and as allies, we’re not going to stand for that. And we will not go back to the days when all you were getting for committing rape was either nothing or a $20 fine and an essay assignment.”

Trumps Education Department makes fun of campus rape. (Apparently, Amerika, you wanted this.)

In Washington, D.C., the Education Department’s top civil rights official apologized Thursday after making false claims about sexual assault on college campuses. Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights Candice Jackson’s apology came after she told The New York Times, “The accusations—90 percent of them—fall into the category of, ‘We were both drunk, we broke up, and six months later I found myself under a Title 9 investigation because she just decided that our last sleeping together was not quite right.’” Jackson made the remarks as Education Secretary Betsy DeVos met with so-called “men’s rights activists” who oppose Obama-era rules cracking down on campus rape. Survivors of sexual assault and their supporters said Thursday the Education Department was failing to take sex crimes seriously. Fatima Goss Graves of the National Women’s Law Center told the AP, “What’s extremely important now is that they do the hard work to counter those sorts of rape myths. They need to explicitly reject them.”

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