Betsy DeVos, head of the U.S. Department of Education, said Thursday that she plans to rewrite the Obama administration’s guidance for how colleges and universities handle sexual assaults on campus so that it better protects students who have been accused of committing assault.
(Insert needle scratching the record here.)
DeVos made her announcement while speaking at the Arlington, Va., campus of George Mason University, The Hill reports. DeVos said that the Obama administration helped elevate the issue of sexual assault and issued guidance with good intentions, but good intentions alone are not enough.
According to The Hill, DeVos said that the Obama policies have failed too many survivors and that “victims” of false accusations lack due process on campuses. She said that a school that fails to take a report of sexual assault seriously commits discrimination.
She also said that a school with a system biased toward finding someone guilty of sexual assault is also guilty of discrimination.
(Let that sink in, because that’s deep.)
“The rights of one person can never be paramount to the rights of another,” DeVos said.
As part of the process for making these changes, DeVos said that the Department of Education will issue a public notice and have a comment period so that the public can provide input on better ways to enforce Title IX sex discrimination laws and create an effective system that protects the rights of all students.
Now, to be fair, until we actually see the changes she wants to make, we don’t know what policies DeVos is planning to put into place. Everything right now is just speculation and conjecture; however …
... the framing of this sounds as if she wants to protect the accused and put the alleged victims on trial, too. This is peak rape culture in action right here.
We’ve already seen how our justice system operates in the protection of those accused and convicted of sexual assault. Putting policies in place that seemingly criminalize the act of reporting sexual assault will serve only as a deterrent for victims who actually need justice but will be afraid to seek it. This is unreal.
I agree that if someone makes a false accusation, there should be punishment. I believe this because people who make false accusations make it harder for real victims to be believed. This is just the reality we live in.
I do not believe that pre-emptively casting suspicion on every accusation is the right way to handle that. Creating new systems for dealing with false accusations is a good remedy, and that should be the route this process takes.
Creating a system that makes victims hesitant to report the crimes against them is, in and of itself, a crime. But at this point, what more do we expect out of this sham of an administration? Our president is the poster boy for rape culture.
Just “grab them by the pussy,” indeed.
Read more at The Hill.