Type to search

Title IX Could Be Key In Reducing Campus Rapes

Entertainment Memo Pad National News

Title IX Could Be Key In Reducing Campus Rapes


Can a modern-era president, a father of two daughters, cut the horrifying statistic that 1 in 5 women is sexually assaulted during her college years?

Can he change the fact that only about 12 percent of attacks are even reported?

Call me guardedly optimistic. Societal attitudes and behavior don’t shift easily.

An increase in young people’s binge drinking in recent decades is linked to the alarming numbers. One often-cited study found that 72 percent of campus rape victims admitted having been drunk when attacked.

Did your mind leap toward warning young women about the risks of shooting shots, guzzling the concoctions at fraternity parties and entering chugging contests?

Yes, young people should be warned of alcohol’s ability to lower their decision-making skills. But for too long, this message primarily has been preached to women. It’s a blame game, and one that too often protects a male attacker (who often also is drunk) by shaming the female victim.

In late January, the Obama White House announced a renewed push in a different direction, to press universities on their responsibilities. The approach is simple, so basic to human dignity that it is insulting that past administrations haven’t applied it in full measure.

Women have a right, a federally enforceable right, to be safe on college and university campuses so they can pursue their education. The wedge of equality is Title IX, a 1972 law preventing sex discrimination in education at institutions that receive federal funding. Investigations of colleges and universities are already rising in number.

The administration will work with campuses where complaints have been lodged under Title IX to improve their response to allegations, enhance education programs and address the mental health needs of victims so they can continue to pursue their educations.

Higher expectations are also being placed on men. Men have to change, through their behavior as perpetrators and as silent bystanders.

Both approaches are in stark contrast to how rape and sexual assault prevention have long been framed. The standard response has been “what women can do to protect themselves from men.” It’s almost as if the criminal behavior of sexual assault is to be expected, or is even considered inherent, in what constitutes men as a gender.

That attitude is insulting to young men. It’s also factually inaccurate.

Mary Sanchez

Mary Sanchez has spent years covering immigration, schools, and other volatile beats for The Kansas City Star. She is now an editorial columnist for the Star, where she continues to offer insightful commentary on immigration, culture, and politics.

  • 1

You Might also Like

1 Comment

  1. John Kruger January 28, 2014

    Given some other horrifyingly poor reporting on feminism in the National Memo, this piece written by someone who actually understands feminist issues is of great comfort to me. Excellent.


Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.