In late 2018, the federal Department of Education proposed new regulations affecting Title IX that will dictate how institutions of higher education respond to reports of sexual misconduct, harassment, and violence on college campuses. These regulations will only further traumatize survivors of sexual assault and fail to hold universities responsible for their students’ well-being. As an organization dedicated to serving survivors of gender-based violence in marginalized communities since 1982, Womankind strongly opposes the proposed regulations to Title IX.
The proposed changes narrow the definition of sexual violence and diminish institutional purview and requirements, as well as require cross-examination of survivors. These regulations will discourage reporting from the entire student body, and impact students of color and other marginalized groups the most. Individuals who identify as female and Asian experience a disproportionately high rate of gender-based violence, and at the same time face a severe lack of culturally-competent resources to turn to in the wake of these instances. They also face discrimination in various ways from the student body, law enforcement, and administration, so it is less likely that they will report their experiences or seek help in any way.
By weakening institutional support and protections for students, the proposed regulations further expose communities that are already extremely at-risk, especially on a campus setting. The number one reason why students do not report their experiences with sexual violence is because they do not believe the incident was serious enough to report. All instances of sexual violence are serious. Instances of sexual violence on college campuses are already grossly under-reported, despite the fact that college students--marginalized students especially--are more likely to experience sexual or gender-based violence than the general public.
Womankind stands with these students. We stand against regulations that will impede equal access to education and undermine survivors of sexual violence on their journeys to overcome trauma and heal.
Womankind is working tirelessly to advocate for survivors in the greater Asian community and beyond. We encourage everyone to do the same. Every comment submitted by the January 30, 2019 deadline counts. Below is an infographic we created summarizing changes to Title IX and a comment guide on how to best craft your comments to the Department of Education.
We understand that these times can unearth trauma and be very triggering to survivors, as well as difficult for allies and advocates. Our services are available to all, and we urge you to use whatever resources may be available to you, including Womankind’s free and confidential 24/7 helpline: 1-888-888-7702.