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
  • Opinions

    Look harder and share smarter

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Zero stars for new DCPS rating system

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Jhi like stop mocking DC slang

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    I’m not white—do you think I’m dumb?

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Government shutdown jeopardizes federal workers’ livelihoods

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Why must we ruin winter break by putting midterms on the other end

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    The midterm schedule is in need of serious changes

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Solving Wilson’s diversity problems requires aggressive change

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Wilson’s powerless SGA stymies student progress

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    What is the best month?

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Don’t venerate politicians just because they die

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    It’s time for colleges to become test optional

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    We Are Teaching Women To Abandon Each Other

  • Opinions

    The Beacon’s New Year’s resolutions

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Careless insults stigmatize intellectual disabilities

  • Opinions

    Athletic obsession squanders students’ academic potential

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    It’s okay to take a mental health day

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    It’s time to stop teaching Shakespeare

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Early Decision emphasizes economic divide

  • DeVos’ policy a setback for sexual assault survivors

    Opinions

    Improved publicity will foster Beacon inclusivity

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