Join me, other survivors, and allies as we call on the Department of Education to enforce Title IX. The law doesn’t just have to do with athletics; it guarantees equal access to education through adequate prevention and remedy of sexual violence. Many followers know this is a dear to me. Please sign the petition and tell the Dept of Ed all students deserve safer campuses.
We are members of a group of hundreds of students and recent graduates fighting sexual violence at colleges and universities, driven by our own experiences of assault, harassment, and abuse on campus. Many of us filed complaints with the Department of Education’s Office of Civil rights because we feel our schools broke federal law by refusing to protect us either before or after we were assaulted. In fact, the Department of Education has only ever publicly found one school to be in noncompliance with the law, even though a recent study suggests nearly two thirds of colleges in America don’t comply.
We started this petition to demand that the Department of Education step up to hold colleges and universities publicly accountable for complying with federal law about protecting survivors of sexual assault like us.
Indeed, one in four women will be raped by the time she graduates college. And, often, survivors are betrayed by the school administrations they turn to after their assault. In this past year alone, hundreds of survivors from dozens of schools have bravely shared their experiences. Almost all have been silenced or ignored by their campus administrations, and most have been forced to drop classes, clubs, sports teams, jobs – or abandon their educations entirely – in order to ensure their basic safety.
These practices aren’t only unethical; they’re illegal. In 1972, Congress passed Title IX of the Education Amendments – the landmark civil rights legislation that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex and guarantees students the fundamental right to education free from sexual violence and harassment. Yet, over 40 years later, little has changed: according to the National Institute of Justice, nearly two in three schools don’t follow anti-violence law.
Some of these schools have been investigated by the Department of Education (ED), the body charged with enforcing Title IX. But ED’s willingness to accept colleges’ promises to change their ways — rather than levy sanctions and publicly declare offending schools as “noncompliant” — isn’t working. In the face of ED’s leniency, schools aren’t changing their ways, and students continue to suffer sexual violence and institutional abuse.
You may also come to the rally on Monday in Washington, DC outside the Dept of Ed HQ.
Tumblr, I need your help in signal boosting. Colleges have been covering up campus rape for way too long. Please click the image/link, sign, and reblog. Word is that the Dept already is hearing us and we need to up the pressure.
When I was in college, a man was breaking into apartments. Dozens of girls woke up in the early hours of the morning before dawn to find a man watching them sleep, sitting on their beds, or touching their legs. By the time they had realized it was not a dream, he would have calmly stood up with no emotion on his face, turned, and left the apartment, nowhere to be found.
Some incidents were in dorms, some in local apartment buildings. The college itself did literally nothing to report, warn, or investigate this terrifying and traumatic problem. They didn’t acknowledge in any way the escalation of this man’s behavior as he became more and more bold, lingering longer and longer on each visit. This was a man working his way up to rape. This was a man who enjoyed terrorizing girls who were living on their own for the first time in their lives, far from their parents. The police were just as apathetic. No reports were filed, no leads investigated, no warnings to college students, many of whom were from small towns where doors were left unlocked and windows open, that this was a dangerous place to do so. There was no defense classes offered or descriptions of the suspect provided by any authority figure. This town refused to protect the girls that called it home.
Who took a stand? The students themselves. In a town where the police grudgingly spared a single fucking patrol car to drive around campus once an hour, male students moved into the living rooms of their female friends, sleeping in shifts with baseball bats. Girls who used to trust their neighbors enough growing up to leave car keys in the ignition at night were installing triple deadbolts. On one occasion, the man attempted to break into an apartment, only to be spotted fleeing when the girl screamed. He was pursued by residents of the building, but escaped. Again, the only people spreading the warning that a predator was on the loose was the students themselves. Children defending children.
One of those apartments was mine. Two months before I moved in, two of the girls who would become my roommates woke to the sight of this man, whose cold stare could have been on a ghost or a statue. For months one of these girls woke up every morning at four in the morning, hysterical and suffering from anxiety attacks, unable to fall asleep again until the sun came up.
Luckily, the hardworking campus security broke the case, bringing the man to justice.
Nope, just kidding.
What happened was this: The final apartment this man crept into became a story that is most likely equal parts legend and truth. In this apartment a girl had pulled an all nighter, studying for a final. She’d taken a shower, gotten dressed, and was alert and functional at five in the morning when a man slid open the door to her room. He was shocked at the sight of a very much not sleeping girl. When he fumbled with a story about having gotten the wrong room and visiting a cousin, the girl started shouting at him that she knew who he was. He fled, and she chased him, screaming at him. The noise drew attention, and attention finally drew the cops, on one of their few patrol sweeps, who only realized what was happening because of the scene made by the freshman warrior pursuing him. The man was arrested on the spot. He was found to be a devout Mormon, a local man with a wife and young daughters, a construction worker who was leaving early for work to stop off and terrorize college students before his shift.
For the record, his wife stood behind him through it all. And the town and college never apologized or acknowledged the arrest. The story spread the same way the warnings did, from one girl to another.
As I’ve said, I never woke up to see this man. I personally never saw the face of the man who tried to break into my apartment as a freshman, at an entirely different school in an entirely different city. But I remember what it feels like to watch a doorknob that should not be turning sliding slowly to the left with a soft click and know that no one, absolutely no one, had prepared me for this.
Let’s put a stop to fucked up shit like this, shall we?