Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Title IX

I initially struggled to relate the variability article to Mrs. Brandt's presentation. After carefully reading it again, I've realized that it connects to a larger theme: The opinions, actions, and achievements of women are often devalued in comparison with men. Alongside the theory of a greater male variability comes more male achievement. Is this to say that a female doesn't have the capacity to succeed like her male counterpart? No, but often times this theory is misconceived. Men are naturally valued more on athletic teams, in the classroom, and as parts of university communities.

"The Hunting Ground" showed this inequality firsthand through personal stories of female college students. In one case that Mrs. Brandt addressed, a woman was raped by a member of the university's football team. After coming forward she was ignored and the athlete was allowed to remain on campus. In this case the school community valued the fame and contributions of a male athlete over the health and safety of another student. No student, whether male or female, should have any of their learning opportunities compromised by an incident of rape. This scenario is exactly the type that Title IX is designed to prevent. The male athlete was an asset on the team and in turn, had his reputation protected by university officials. What message does this send to females and other rape victims across college campuses? Don't speak out against your perpetrator if he's an athlete because his athletic talent is valued over your safety. Or in other cases, rape victims may feel as though the case will never end in justice anyway.

Another case featuring a woman at Harvard Law School highlighted the aspect of consent and male advantage. Title IX  outlines rules for universities that are often overlooked in fear of tarnishing an elite school's reputation. The idea of male variability contributes to increased male dominance. In this woman's case her perpetrator was a friend she had known for years. When the case was brought to court the court questioned her as if she misinterpreted her 'friendship' with this boy. Her view on the incident was devalued compared to that of her rapist. The administration seemed to care less about her feelings and emotions. How is he allowed to take friendship a step further without her full consent? The rape and abuse can sometimes be attributed to the power that society gives men. The biggest problem I had with this case is that the court struggled to believe her accusation. Even if there seems to be no apparent physical 'proof', wouldn't anyone tend to side with a victim? After all, they feel victimized and clearly hurt. Why is is that we tend to believe the male has been falsely accused after so many cases have been proven? Why do we give men the benefit of the doubt?

Title IX intends to maintain equality between people with no regard to gender or sexual orientation. The barrier that stands between this law and the protection of students is university administration. The first step in enacting change is requiring schools to come forward with eye-opening statistics and new systems in place. No school wants to be singled out as unsafe, which means all universities have to speak out against the issue as a whole and put actions behind an issue that they take "very seriously".

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