Quick Hit: Alexandra on ending rape culture on college campuses

Our own Alexandra has an important piece up at the Guardian today about the prevalence of sexual violence on college campuses, and the shameful lack of support survivors tend to receive from campus administrations and even the federal government:

When someone attempted to rape me my freshman year, I asked my college, Yale University, for help, but instead I was basically advised to keep quiet. I shouldn’t formally report the assault, I was told. Despite my clear and repeated “no”, school administrators cast the whole event as a misunderstanding among friends.

In short, I was told to be a good girl. And for four years, I listened.

It’s doubly dangerous that these same expectations of accommodation have infected the Education Department, charged with protecting students from just such abuses. The department knows sexual violence is rampant on American campuses. It has investigated dozens of schools based on student complaints, uncovering blatantly illegal abuses: survivors are told not to report their crimes by school administrators, threatened with expulsion if they speak about their experiences, and forcibly institutionalized.

Yet even in the face of such violations, the Education Department almost always chooses to avoid legal action or fines against schools by accepting administrators’ promises to do better in the future. That’s exactly what happened with our complaint to Yale University. There wasa resolution where Yale agreed to do better, and the Department of Education accepted that even though it found that the university didn’t have adequate procedures for reporting or addressing sexual harassment and assault.

You can read the full article here.

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Jos Truitt is Executive Director of Development at Feministing. She joined the team in July 2009, became an Editor in August 2011, and Executive Director in September 2013. She writes about a range of topics including transgender issues, abortion access, and media representation. Jos first got involved with organizing when she led a walk out against the Iraq war at her high school, the Boston Arts Academy. She was introduced to the reproductive justice movement while at Hampshire College, where she organized the Civil Liberties and Public Policy Program’s annual reproductive justice conference. She has worked on the National Abortion Federation’s hotline, was a Field Organizer at Choice USA, and has volunteered as a Pro-Choice Clinic Escort. Jos has written for publications including The Guardian, Bilerico, RH Reality Check, Metro Weekly, and the Columbia Journalism Review. She has spoken and trained at numerous national conferences and college campuses about trans issues, reproductive justice, blogging, feminism, and grassroots organizing. Jos completed her MFA in Printmaking at the San Francisco Art Institute in Spring 2013. In her "spare time" she likes to bake and work on projects about mermaids.

Jos Truitt is an Executive Director of Feministing in charge of Development.

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