Leaked Proposal From Education Department Would Harm Sexual Assault Survivors
The Department of Education is trying to strip rights away from student survivors of sexual assault and encourage schools to protect perpetrators, according to a leaked copy of an expected regulation.
The draft regulation, obtained by The New York Times, would roll back previous guidance issued under the Obama administration instructing schools to follow fair and thorough processes respecting the needs of survivors and the safety of all students on campus. The new regulation encourages universities to ignore reports of sexual assault and makes it harder for survivors to get the safe resolution they need.
Transgender people experience horrific rates of sexual assault, with nearly half experiencing sexual assault in their lifetime, according to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey. Transgender people of color experienced even higher rates of sexual assault. One in four transgender people who were out during college faced mistreatment, including sexual assault.
Harper Jean Tobin, Director of Policy at the National Center for Transgender Equality, gave the following response:
“The U.S. Department of Education should be leading schools toward empathy and action that respects the safety of all students on campus, not pushing them towards apathy and inaction that endangers student survivors. We cannot live in a society that empowers abusers to, among other things, cross-examine the very people they victimized during processes that ostensibly have the goal of bringing them to justice. This regulation will only silence the voices of those who most need to be heard, and encourage colleges to skirt by while ignoring the law and the needs of their own students.”
Learn more about sexual assault and the rights of survivors on our Survivors of Violence page.