There are some important things that survivors should know about the Title IX rollback.
Sexual violence advocates, survivors, and allies are reacting strongly to the rollback of Title IX guidelines by the Trump administration. There are a few things we think survivors should know.
What Just Happened
Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos warned that she would not protect the Obama-era guidelines that helped schools establish systems and policies for investigating allegations of sexual misconduct. As early as January, during her confirmation hearings, DeVos said she would not commit to protecting those guidelines.
There Were Problems With Title IX Before the Rollback
The idea that universities should prosecute sexual misconduct on campus as Title IX violations was originally supposed to be a supplement to the criminal justice system. Students can report to both their school and the police, but it is also an option to report just the crime (to the police) or the civil rights violation (to the school). For some survivors, turning to the criminal justice system is not a feasible option. Schools are required to take all the necessary steps to protect and support survivors, but the criminal courts often don’t do the same.</p
Since the Obama-era guidelines, universities and colleges had to have regulations in place on how to handle these situations, but they could determine the policies themselves. The guidelines for determining fault were subject to the whims of the university which, in some cases, has turned this process into a quasi-court. It’s easy to understand how self-governed policies could fail survivors when set in the context of a culture that is rife with victim-blaming, rape apologists, and a stunted understanding of mental health and trauma.