The Wilson Beacon

DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

Photo+courtesy+of+Sarah+Tillman
Back to Article
Back to Article

DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

Photo courtesy of Sarah Tillman

Photo courtesy of Sarah Tillman

Photo courtesy of Sarah Tillman

Photo courtesy of Sarah Tillman

Baraka Aboul-Magd

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Betsy Devos, the United States Secretary Of Education, has proposed a new sexual assault policy that narrows the definition of sexual assault and makes it harder to prove harassment and assault claims. This is a major step backward; sexual assault is already a horrific experience to go through but to tell survivors that what they went through isn’t real and deny them the help they deserve is abhorrent.

Sexual assault is not just “unwelcome conduct on the basis of sex” that “denies a person access to the school’s education program or activity,” as it is defined in the new policy. Sexual assault is really any type of sexual activity you don’t consent to, according to Planned Parenthood, meaning that it doesn’t have to deny you any type of education to qualify.

We should not have our school administration telling us that what we experienced is not sexual assault because it didn’t affect our education or that the school isn’t liable because we didn’t go to a school official with the right authority. The school should always be held responsible because that is the only way to get victims the help they need and hold abusers accountable.

In Devos’ policy, she states that a victim must “go to a school official who is capable of taking the right measures,” but what if we are not comfortable confiding in that school official? Why can’t we go to a trusted adult who we feel safe around and trust they will help us make the right decision?

Her policy tells us what will count as sexual assault. It tells us that if our assault didn’t clearly deny us access to education, it is not as severe as we feel. If it goes into effect, schools will have the ultimate power over the level of enforcement of sexual assault policy.

According to the policy, the school is also only legally liable if “its response to the sexual harassment is clearly unreasonable in light of known circumstances.” It is wrong to only make the school liable under those circumstances especially if a victim is not ready to share their experience. Schools are already wholly irresponsible when dealing with sexual assault on campus, and lessening the burden on them to act will only make this problem worse.

This policy will create an environment on college campuses in which abusers are more protected than victims. Anyone who has been sexually assaulted, no matter the degree, should not have to undergo mediation or give the accused access to all evidence if the victim decides to go forward. Mediation is extremely inappropriate for these circumstances because it makes the victim face the assaulter and relive the most painful experience of their life. If a victim decides to come forward and undergo the pain and abuse that comes with a sexual assault trial, the only required contact between the assaulter and victim should be in court or through lawyers.

Leave a Comment

If you want a picture to show with your comment, go get a gravatar.




Navigate Left
  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Every month should be women’s history month

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    New AP fees threaten early college level exposure

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Abundance of APs normalizes student stress

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    It’s time to civilize the abortion debate

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Streaming services limit artists’ profits

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Green New Deal isn’t radical – it’s necessary

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Mansplaining in math discourages female students

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Controversial white artists deserve the same scrutiny as YNW Melly

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Staff editorial: College process is a meritocracy with no merit

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    DC’s liberal atmosphere fuels political ignorance

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Empower students, not staff, to address bullying

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    100 word rants

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Selfishness is a virtue not a sin

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    It’s time America recognizes it’s linguistic diversity

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    DCPS history curriculum does not do black history justice

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Let’s learn the difference between ‘club’ and ‘union’

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    SGA needs easy fixes to flawed structure

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Ferebee’s hire continues problematic DCPS trend of enlisting pro-charter educators

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Community complacency normalizes rape culture

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    100 word sex and relationship rants: Oral reciprocity and awkward dates

Navigate Right
The Student News Site of Woodrow Wilson Senior High School
DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors