For Immediate Release: September 7, 2017
The Feminist Majority Foundation condemns the heartless statements of Secretary Betsy DeVos and the Department of Education today that attack Title IX as we know it and threaten crucial guidelines that protect survivors of sexual violence. We’re calling on college administrators to oppose Secretary DeVos’ baseless approach to addressing campus sexual violence.
Statement by Feminist Majority Foundation President, Eleanor Smeal:
“Today’s announcement from Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos demonstrates a complete lack of understanding of Title IX as well as blatant contempt and disregard for survivors of sexual violence. More than one in five women experience sexual assault while in college. The 2011 Department of Education’s guidance document offers vitally-needed guidelines to help schools, universities, and colleges address this epidemic and ensure that civil rights are protected.
The Department of Education should be doing all it can to support survivors, enforce civil rights, and hold educational institutions responsible and accountable. Instead, by promising to change the current Title IX guidelines and put the rights of the accused before the safety of survivors, Betsy DeVos is giving colleges and universities carte blanche to, once again, sweep incidents of sexual assault under the rug and silence survivors.
The approach of Vice President Joe Biden and the Obama Administration was one of prevention and accountability. It put the responsibility on colleges and universities to create a climate on campus that is healthy, safe, and puts education first. Our government should not be promoting rape myths at the expense of survivors. False reporting is extremely rare. Rather, what is common is under-reporting of rape and sexual violence because of the ill treatment of survivors.
The Feminist Majority Foundation will continue to fight for the rights of survivors of sexual violence and work to create a climate of accountability and safety on college campuses.”
Washington, DC Office:
Email Megan Connor
Los Angeles, CA Office:
Email Susie Gilligan