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Betsy DeVos eleminates sexual assault protections policy on campus

It is reported that the HRC will be cancelling Title IX guidance related to school’s obligation to address sexual harassment which includes sexual violence.

Hrc.org reported that the Director of Government Affairs at the Human Rights Campaign David Stacy said, “With today’s announcement, Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration have clearly drawn a line in the sand, stating that they prefer it be more difficult for survivors of sexual assault to receive justice. LGBTQ Americans face disproportionate levels of sexual assault and violence. This unconscionable decision — coupled with the decision to rescind guidance aimed at protecting transgender students — sadly indicates that the Department of Education is no longer in the business of protecting students from harm.

Title IX is known for its impact on women’s athletics admissions but its sex discrimination prohibition regarding law also requires schools to address sexual harassment. This includes sexual violence as forms of sex discrimination. It also protects the students from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and sexual orientation, as evidenced by continuing case law, guidance previously issued by the Department of Education, and school district settlements to this effect.

Title IX also affects the LGBTQ by sexual assault and harassment. With these changes, the challenges that LGBTQ face may make it even more difficult to be reported. There were studies conducted which suggests that almost half of bisexual women have been raped and half of transgender people will experience sexual violence. Meanwhile, the Youth Risk Behavior Survey which is a national survey of high school students, claimed that lesbian and bisexual women and gay and bisexual men experienced higher rates of sexual assault that of their counterparts. More studies including the 2015 study made by Association of American Universities found that there were about 60% of gay and lesbian students and nearly 70% of bisexual students report being sexually harassed on campuses.

In addition to this, last Februry, both Devos and the Attorney General Jeff Sessions also withdrew important guidance that clarified schools’ obligations to protect transgender students from discrimination. This is still under Title IX.

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