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Education Sec. Betsy DeVos to Act on Campus Sexual Assault Rules

by Countable | 7.14.17

A group of Congresswomen are speaking out against the comments made by Candice Jackson, the head of the Civil Rights division at the Department of Education, downplaying the progress made to combat sexual assault, and directing scorn at sexual assault accusers.

Late last week, Jackson had told the New York Times that 90 percent of sexual assault accusations on college campuses are a result of being "drunk" and women deciding six months later that their “sleeping together was not quite right.”

She has since apologized, calling her comments "flippant."

Rep. Susan Davis (D-CA) says she recognizes the apology but still criticizes the underlying message sent by the Education Department employee.

"It’s so appalling to hear this sort of victim blaming coming from the person in charge of protecting our students from sexual assault. We need a highly competent system led by highly competent people, not officials who blame victims. I understand that there has been an apology. An apology will certainly be enough if the comments weren’t somehow indicative of the actions we have already seen from the Department of Education," Davis told reporters at the Capitol.

The group of congresswoman fear Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is setting the wrong tone for the department she just took over and believes the Trump administration is trying to dismantle the work done by the anti-discriminatory Title IX policies.

"I want to be very clear, I expect you, as our Secretary of Education, to protect our students against sexual violence," says Rep. Brenda Lawrence (D-MI). “To support a safe environment for our students. And I expect you through investigation of all accusations, to treat these cases as serious and one of your highest responsibilities.”

The Title IX policies, which expanded under the Obama administration, requires universities to better investigate sexual assault cases and it gives guidance for how to handle sexual assault reports. While several congresswomen say colleges are still escaping accountability, there has still been progress made in decreasing sexual assault. However, House Minority leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) said that the Trump administration is "turning back the clock" on this issue and is trying to eliminate the Title IX policies altogether.

"The Trump administration is dismantling that progress," Pelosi told reporters at the Capitol. “Attacking Title IX protections, which includes transgender students, cutting funding and staff for the office of civil rights. This is inequality, it is injustice. My comments are about respect for women, and strengthening the office of civil rights, not weakening it. There has always been this nipping away from some in Congress who just would like to get rid of it. Every women has the right to feel safe on campus.”

Contact your lawmakers or the Department of Education and let your voice be heard!

-- Matt Laslo in the U.S. Capitol

(Photo Credit: Sarbiya1105 via Pixabay)

Countable

Written by Countable

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(118)
  • Tom
    07/14/2017
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    Sexual assault is not a crime of passion but a crime of violence and must be prosecuted without the interference of prejudice or ideology

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  • Catherine
    07/14/2017
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    As a survivor, I find the dismissive comments made by Jackson to be utterly reprehensible. I would suggest looking at the statistics provided by RAINN (The rape abuse and incest national network) before we get too comfortable with normalizing this kind of tone from our national leaders. Surely in the 21st-century, supporting laws that protect our daughters, sisters and mothers as they pursue their equal rights to education shouldn't be a controversial topic. DeVos and her ilk represent a disgraceful lack of empathy for those who are most vulnerable to being ignored.

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  • Benjamin
    07/14/2017
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    Sexual assault is taken so lightly by universities that it is scary. It's time to do the right thing and fully investigate and prosecute those that perpetrate sexual assaults. Anyone who trivializes them and works for the federal government or state governments should be removed.

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  • Timnyc
    07/14/2017
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    Classic victim blaming unbelievable that in this atmosphere of the he-man Trump and that Women are blaming other women for the crime.This issue should be tied to Federal school funding if the reported assaults and the manitory awareness training for male and female students is not compiled with the school should be fined and put on sexual predator watch list . The reported schools will be on DOJ website for all to see.Additionally mandatory sentences must be enforced. All students and faculty will have mandatory compliance.

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  • Dale
    07/14/2017
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    I am ashamed that any Iowa representatives supported this disgraceful person. Please stop enabling her.

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  • Al
    07/14/2017
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    Sexual assault is approved by the sex offender occupying the WH as long as you're rich and famous. He said he could do whatever to women, including grabbing them by their pussy. Republicans honor and approve sex offenders. But my Representative Jack Bergman says you must behave with civility when commenting to Republicans that celebrated the death of Political Correctness in the presidential campaign of 2016. Just can't wait to see what our wonderful Christian school leader DeVos will do to support more sex offenders in schools.

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  • Sherri
    07/15/2017
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    Every day I grow more and more disgusted with what Trump's administration and the GOP are trying to do to this country.

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  • PLD
    07/14/2017
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    Congress ratified Betsy DeVos's nomination. Now stand up and fight her attempts to back step Title IX accomplishments and the trend under her direction to further victim blame in attacks against women. Yes, it IS THE JOB OF THE US GOVERNMENT of which the Department of Education is a part TO PROTECT THE RIGHTS OF ALL CITIZENS whether DeVos agrees with the life styled or not! Please stand up against DeVos and protect rape victims and all those who are the targets of violence and prejudice. The protection of civil rights is a significant obligation of the US Congress whether through direct legislation or safeguards against those who attempt to violate those rights. Please do your jobs.

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  • Ticktock
    07/14/2017
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    I'm not surprised by the draconian verbiage coming from any part of this Administration. The fact that this comes from DeVos' subordinate fits the narrow minded thinking taking place under her guidance. Resist, Resist, Resist. Not only should her subordinate be fired but DeVos should be terminated as well.

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  • Diane
    07/15/2017
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    Please support every effort to maintain title IX protections that have already been put in place to protect innocent college students from the serial rapists that are their neighbors in their college dorms. Victims of sexual assault rarely falsely accuse and usually never even report the attack. Do not let this administration (or any!) send us spirally downwards as we are just beginning to make progress and give these victims a voice. We need to believe them and support them...not blame them. For anyone who wants to learn more please watch "The Hunting Ground." It's eye opening, scary and sad but it's the reality on our college campuses!

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  • Keith
    07/14/2017
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    The reprehensible comments of an official of the Dept. of Education should come as no surprise at all. Look who is in occupation of the Oval Office. It starts at the top. Will members of congress come together on this at least? Are there Republicans in congress with daughters and nieces in college? Another one of those instances where it's sickening (but not shocking) to even be having this conversation.

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  • Oneda
    07/15/2017
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    I am relieved that this has been discussed and some expectations made clear. Her remarks were totally unacceptable.

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  • Christen
    07/15/2017
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    Less power to the sex offenders and more rights to the victims! Her statement is so backwards that it's mind boggling.

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  • Debi
    07/15/2017
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    This consistent victim blaming has to stop. It's way past time men were held responsible for their actions. No means no, unconscious means no. Rape is a crime start treating it as one assholes.

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  • Colleen
    07/15/2017
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    Devoss is no friend of ours. She has consulted groups of men who disregard sexual assault and blame the women.

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  • Lani
    07/14/2017
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    As a survivor, I find the dismissive comments made by Jackson to be utterly reprehensible. I would suggest looking at the statistics provided by RAINN (The rape abuse and incest national network) before we get too comfortable with normalizing this kind of tone from our national leaders. Surely in the 21st-century, supporting laws that protect our daughters, sisters and mothers as they pursue their equal rights to education shouldn't be a controversial topic. DeVos and her ilk represent a disgraceful lack of empathy for those who are most vulnerable to being ignored.

    Like (3)
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  • L0u15e.N032L
    07/15/2017
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    Victim blaming by conservative women. These are people that would take us back to an era of no rights for women. These are people that will apply their religion to those who have a different one or none. These are people against our Constitution and the Bill of Rights. How can they be in charge?

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  • Jody
    07/15/2017
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    Betsy DeVos wants to remove Title IX policies from campuses, that give protections to victims of sexual violence. Secretary DeVos is being fooled by the aggressors in these situations, thinking that they are the victims. When victims see sympathy being given to those who assualted them, they are less likely to report, furthering the already prevalent rape culture on campuses. Women need to feel safe and unjudged to be able to come forward and report these crimes. Please safeguard Title IX in schools.

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  • Edward
    07/15/2017
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    Criminal investigations are best handled by the police who are trained to do so, protecting the rights of all parties involved. If a criminal act is proven then there are criminal penalties available. If the actions are not criminal but inappropriate per the colleges published guidelines, then the college can take appropriate action. The college should not be the fact finding entity. That's not what they're good at.

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  • NoHedges
    07/15/2017
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    How many women need to be raped before you men decide to impeach DeVos. Do you have a quota or do you even care? The Senate confirmed her the Senate needs to get her out!

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