How Betsy DeVos Let “Men’s Rights” Groups Shape Campus Sexual Assault Protections

Earlier this summer, Betsy DeVos met with so-called “men’s rights” groups —groups widely acknowledged to be hostile to women’s rights—to get their take on (wait for it…) campus rape. And last week, DeVos announced that she would be rescinding Obama-era guidelines on campus sexual assault. Coincidence?

Let’s start with the facts on campus sexual assault

College rape and sexual assault is a crisis that disproportionately impacts women (one in 5 women is sexually assaulted while completing her undergraduate studies). And yet, it’s estimated that 90% of those campus assaults go unreported every year. That tells us that most survivors remain unknown.

As recently as 2014, it was not widely reported that rape and sexual assault were plaguing college campuses—91% of schools in 2014 self-reported ZERO incidents of rape or sexual violence.

How the Obama administration was fighting campus sexual assault

Fortunately, In 2011 the Obama administration issued a “Dear Colleague Letter” which argued that, under Title IV law, colleges and universities were obligated to take claims of sexual assault and violence seriously. The Obama administration made it clear that college sexual assault invades a victim’s civil rights, creates a hostile environment to a disproportionate amount of women, and is a crime. By enforcing Title IV, the Obama administration called on colleges and universities to take allegations seriously and follow through on reports of the crime.

Why is it bad that DeVos met with “men’s rights” groups?

Last week DeVos reversed the actions of the Obama administration—coincidentally, after speaking to three controversial “Men’s Rights” groups earlier in the summer. Take a look at who these groups are, and you’ll see that their public stances on sexual assault are sexist and offensive.

Take back the debate on campus sexual assaults!

Campuses all over Virginia are flooded every August with young adults filled with excitement and hope for the future. And yet we know that more than 50 percent of rapes and sexual assaults will take place within the first four months, sometimes even happening on the very first night.

If you need it, this sexual assault hotline is free, confidential, and open 24/7: (800) 656-HOPE