WEAVE Statement on Title IX Changes Regarding Sexual Assault & Harassment
May 8, 2020
WEAVE objects to the sweeping changes to Title IX regulations announced by the Department of Education on May 6. The changes minimize the experiences of survivors, create additional hurdles for student survivors seeking justice, and give even greater power to perpetrators as they will not be held accountable. Our 32 years as Sacramento’s Rape Crisis Center has given us firsthand exposure to the experiences of survivors and we cannot stand by in silence about any action that creates greater harm.
Narrowing of the definition of sexual harassment invalidates and minimizes the experiences of student survivors. This will discourage students from reporting and create unsafe learning environments. Critical gains made to recognize the impact of sexual assault and harassment and hold perpetrators accountable have been undone by these changes.
The changes make an already difficult process even more traumatic for survivors. Requirements including a “clear and convincing” evidentiary standard and creating a system where a survivor faces being questioned by their assailant is unconscionable. This makes it difficult to hold perpetrators accountable and creates unnecessary obstacles to healing. When survivors are not believed and perpetrators are not held accountable there are consequences. Educational institutions will become courtrooms rather than institutions of higher learning, where all students should feel safe to learn and thrive. Survivors will withdraw from classes as they cope from the aftermath of trauma and perpetrators will harm more students.
As advocates for healthy relationships, survivors, and safe communities, we oppose the changes and are prepared to work to change this mistake. We will work with our local educational institutions to advocate for trauma-informed practices. We will continue to provide confidential support for student survivors. Confidential WEAVE Advocates are available to all students and employees in the Los Rios Community College District and California State University, Sacramento. We remain committed to working with our local educational institutions to make campuses safer and to ensure survivors receive the support they deserve.