Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Title IX

I strongly believe Title IX is a necessary and important topic to be educated on and aware of, especially for students like myself, who are entering college in the fall. Title IX became a federal civil rights law in 1972 and it “prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any education program or activity that receives federal funding”. On aclu.org they specify sexual harassment, rape, and sexual assault all classify under “discrimination on the basis of sex.” What I find shocking is how this law became active only 45 years ago, yet it is such a prevalent issue many women and men struggle with. To prove how common it is, in the “History of Campus Sexual Assault” Kamenetz commented that “one in five female college students will be assaulted”. Not only is that statistic disturbingly shocking, but also 7.7% of male college students anonymously admitted to engaging in or attempting forced sex. This statistic is from 1987, and it only counts for the male college students who admitted to it, so I am assuming there are significantly more men who have engaged in this type of behavior but did not take responsibility. 
Trying to understand why people misbehave in these ways is hard to tell. Psychology professor Mary Koss believes there are “3 primary drivers” that allow men to behave in this way without facing consequences. The first is the likeliness of them being under the influence of a high alcohol consumption. When facing a trial, it is especially difficult to collect evidence or bystanders if there was alcohol involved, because how reliable can that information be? Boys and girls use the excuse “I was drunk” too often today to cover for their mistakes. But drunk or not, they performed those actions and they should be penalized for them. The second primary driver Koss touches on is the peer pressure they feel from other men to prove their “sexual prowess”. This is important to boys because they want to be accepted by their peers and unfortunately many think “hooking up with x amount of girls” can prove to others that they are cool. It is sad that this is a prevalent part of the culture at some Universities, but it is better to be aware of it than to be taken by total surprise. The last drive Koss talks about is men’s own attitudes on favoring impersonal sex. Sex is a big deal, and because of the gender divide there are different standards among them. Some people are okay with having fun with someone one night, but sex should be consensual by both persons participating. Men can find themselves without consequences after engaging in sexual misconduct because of these three motivators and “guidelines” they participate in. I think it is interesting how Mary Koss is a psychology professor who works with college students daily at The University of Arizona. 

What I find really intriguing about some cases I’ve read over, is that all of the victims end up with money. Sure, money can factor into this as a plus, however I do not think that should be the primary end “prize”. Universities are paying students for the mistakes of others, and with something as serious as sexual assault and rape, money cannot cover all the post traumatic experiences they go through. In specific, at UNC Chapel Hill two students received grants of 455,000 after suing them for a Title IX violation. Another case took place at CU Boulder and they paid the victim 2.85 million dollars because of the severity of the case. Title IX itself is in place to protect students from an unsafe environment, and although rape, sexual harassment and sexual assault are still present in University life, there is a unifying movement and effort to put an end to it. 

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