Earlier today, Trump’s wholly unqualified Education Secretary Betsy DeVos announced that the Trump Regime would be rescinding Title IX guidelines for sexual assault survivors.
In a culture in which sexual assault survivors are already unacceptably marginalized, ignored, and often vilified, DeVos has decided that those accused of sexual assault deserve more protections. It’s an utter betrayal of survivors and a gift-wrapped present to predators.
Now, Vice President Joe Biden has taken to Facebook to pen a moving rebuttal to the announcement, channeling his experience as a father and politician to contextualize the Trump administration’s latest abominable move.
“In recent weeks, all around the country, parents dropped their children off at college. They’re worrying about whether they’ll make friends, how they’ll do in their classes, if they’ll be happy. And in the back of every parent’s mind, they’re also worrying, ‘Will my daughter be alright?’ They may not know the statistics: that one in five women will be sexually assaulted during her college career. One in five. And for transgender and bisexual women, it’s even worse: one in four transgender students experience sexual assault in college. For bisexual students, it’s one in three. They may not know those statistics, but deep down, they know.
It’s inexcusable. It’s unacceptable. It has to stop.
Today’s announcement that the Department of Education plans to rewrite key Title IX guidance which works to address and prevent sexual assault in our schools is a step in the wrong direction. The truth is, although people don’t want to talk about the brutal reality of sexual assault, especially when it occurs in our most cherished institutions, it is our reality, and it must be faced head-on. And any change that weakens Title IX protections will be devastating.
Sexual assault is the ultimate abuse of power, and its pernicious presence in our schools is unacceptable. Policies that do not treat this epidemic with the utmost seriousness are an insult to the lives it has damaged and the survivors who have worked so hard to make positive change. And sexual assault has lasting effects on survivors: as many as one-third of rape victims may develop post-traumatic stress disorder, and even more experience other long-term physical and mental health effects. It is a life-altering tragedy.
I’m asking everyone who has a stake in this fight to step up. Students, parents, faculty, alumni. Don’t just sit and watch. Speak up. Any rollback of Title IX protections will hurt your classmates, your students, your friends, your sisters. Make your views known.
I know that we can continue to change the culture. I’ve seen it as I’ve traveled to campuses in every corner of the country over the past few years, talking to thousands upon thousands of students about the It’s On Us campaign. Students have taken on this fight. Keep fighting. Tell this administration that we refuse to go backwards.”
Biden’s call for action is one that everyone must heed. We must support our mothers, wives, sisters, and daughters and help them to put in place the kind of protections they deserve.
Rob Haffey is a writer, filmmaker, and winner of the ScreenCraft Writing Fellowship. He is a graduate of Drexel University.