These Campus Sexual Assault Organizations Need Your Support With DeVos' Title IX Proposal
On Friday, Education Secretary Betsy DeVos unveiled a proposal to overhaul how schools handle allegations of sexual misconduct, which included policies aimed at narrowing the definition of sexual harassment, bolstering the rights of accused students, and limiting when schools must take action. But if the Department of Education's proposal has you wondering how you can better support survivors, these campus sexual assault organizations may be just what you're looking for.
Unfortunately, sexual assault, harassment, and violence are prevalent issues on college campuses across the United States. In fact, college-age women are considered to be at an elevated risk of experiencing sexual violence compared to women of all ages, according to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN).
What's more, 20 to 25 percent of college women, 15 percent of college men, and 21 percent of transgender, genderqueer, and nonconforming students have reported experiencing some kind of forced sexual activity or sexual assault while at college, according to data provided by the National Sexual Violence Resource Center. Another 27 percent of college women have reported unwanted sexual contact, while nearly two-thirds of college students — male and female — have reported experiencing sexual harassment.
While it's unclear exactly what impact DeVos' proposed rules will have on campus sexual assault and misconduct if it goes into effect as currently written, a number of organizations dedicated to supporting survivors and ending campus assault have already spoken out against the proposed overhaul.
"The proposed rule changes to Title IX put forward today for public comment by the Department of Education once again demonstrate that Secretary DeVos and her team lack basic empathy for survivors and do not care about campus safety," It's On Us Executive Director Tracey Vitchers said Friday in a statement. "The results of these proposed rules would be devastating. Survivors would have fewer viable pathways to achieve justice, and all students would be less safe as they pursue their education."
If DeVos' proposal has you itching to support efforts to end campus sexual violence and better assist survivors, you might consider donating your time, talents, resources, or money to any of the groups detailed below:
It’s On Us
Since its launch in 2014, It's On Us says it has provided education and training to nearly 5,000 student leaders through their organizing program along with raising awareness about campus sexual assault and bystander intervention techniques. The organization hopes to bring their campaign to another 1,000 campuses this year. The organization also plans to roll out a series of tools and resources on how the public can push back on DeVos' proposed rule changes.
End Rape on Campus
End Rape on Campus serves to support and advocate for survivors while working to bring an end to campus sexual assault through education, outreach, and campus, local, state, and federal policy reform. Aside from monetary donations, the group offers a number of ways for those interested in helping to get involved, including suggestions for everyday activism as well as information on how to contribute to their work directly through skills activism or political action.
Know Your IX
Youth-led political advocacy group Know Your IX has been working to empower students to end end sexual and dating violence on campuses across the country. Along with training, organizing, and supporting survivor student activists, the group also serves to educate students at both the high school and college level about their right to an education free of gender-based violence and discrimination as guaranteed to them through Title IX.
Run as a volunteer collective, SAFER seeks to empower student-led movements aimed at combating sexual violence on college campuses by providing student activists with resources and evidence to help them reform campus sexual assault policies at their school. Donations to the volunteer collective help it to not only train and mentor student activists but also conduct vital research on college sexual assault policies as part of its larger effort to better inform policy makers.
Culture of Respect
Founded in 2013 by concerned parents of college-age students, Culture of Respect is now an initiative of the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators (NASPA) – Student Affairs Administrators in Higher Education. They seek to support educational institutions' efforts to end sexual violence on campus through organizational change by supplying comprehensive resources and guidence on how to prevent and respond to incidents of sexual violence on campus.
While RAINN isn't specifically focused on addressing campus sexual assault — it's actually the largest nonprofit anti-sexual assault organization in the United States — they have a plethora of information and resources specifically designed for students. What's more, the organization also advocates for survivors at local, state, and national levels. And there are multiple ways you can help support them. Their website lists information on how you can donate directly to or fundraise for RAINN as well as raise awareness via social media campaigns and student activism.
The Department of Education's newly proposed Title IX rule is expected to open for a 60-day period of public comment sometime next week. A number of campus sexual assault organizations, including many of the ones listed here, have encouraged those who are concerned about the proposed changes to submit a comment in an effort to push back and influence the Department of Education's policymaking.