Activist networks fight sexual assault policies at campuses nationwide
- When the Oxy Sexual Assault Coalition--a group of students and faculty at Los Angeles' Occidental College--decided to take the school's handling of sexual assault cases to the federal government as a civil rights case, they reached out to women at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill who had filed a similar complaint for advice on how to navigate the legal terrain.
- The North Carolina women had taken similar inspiration and advice from a group at Amherst College in Massachusetts, who had sought advice from a group of women at Yale--and in this way, campaigns against sexual assault on numerous campuses have formed a national network of activists who can share their strategies and experiences.
- Activists say that colleges and universities don't do enough to educate students about sexual assault, encourage victims to seek help, counsel survivors, report the frequency of incidents and train the people who investigate the cases--and the institutions often agree, with several having overhauled their systems.
- One big change brought about by the cases came in 2011, when the U.S. Department of Education's Office of Civil Rights sent a letter to colleges informing them that Title IX's legal provision against sex-based discrimination covers acts of sexual violence as an act of sexual harassment against students, making it possible for the cases to be brought before the government as civil rights matters.
From the article:
... In the past year, campaigns against sexual assault on college campuses have produced an informal national network of activists who, while sometimes turning for advice to established advocacy groups, have learned largely from one another. They see the beginnings of what they hope is a snowball effect, with each high-profile complaint, each assault survivor going public, prompting more people on more campuses to follow suit. ...
- The New York Times Read More
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