Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is turning her attention to rape on college campuses...but instead of working to make campuses safer for women and LGBTQ folks, as the Obama administration did, she’s turning to “Men’s Rights Activists” to hear their advice.
Because MRAs who insist that false rape accusations are the *real* epidemic deserve to be heard out, right? Uh...no.
According to Politico, DeVos is meeting with different organizations to hear advice on how college campuses should handle sexual assault accusations and protect students. But DeVos isn't just meeting with survivors’ rights organizations such as Know Your IX and the National Women’s Law Center. She’s also meeting with “men’s rights” organizations including Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), and - get this - the National Coalition For Men .
Slate describes the National Coalition For Men as “one of the largest, longest-running, and shameless men’s rights organizations out there. It is founded on the belief that domestic violence and sexual assault are widely overreported (in other words, that women regularly invent incidents of these crimes) and that some of the blame often lies with the female victim.”
The National Coalition For Men has made headlines over the years for publishing photos, names, and bios of women who have accused men of rape; bringing lawsuits against networking groups for women; and for their president, Harry Crouch, saying of Ray Rice beating his girlfriend unconscious, “if she hadn’t aggravated him, she wouldn’t have been hit.”
And that’s not all. The Southern Poverty Law Center includes SAVE on a list of "websites, blogs and forums dedicated to savaging feminists in particular and women, very typically American women, in general" and describes their as goal as "lobbying to roll back services for victims of domestic abuse and penalties for their tormentors, while working to return the focus to the 'true victims of abuse' — the falsely accused.”
Politico writes that these meetings “could be a sign that [DeVos] will soon make changes to controversial 2011 guidance on campus sexual assault issued by the Obama administration, which required colleges to take certain steps to crack down on sexual violence on campus.”
In case you’re still feeling optimistic, ThinkProgress points out that DeVos has also donated to an anti-"guidance" group: the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education (FIRE), which has shared articles that say things like, “Unfortunately, much of the feminist ‘war on rape’ has conflated sexual assault with muddled, often alcohol-fueled, sexual encounters that involve miscommunication.”
It shouldn’t need to be said, but men who are accused of rape are not the “real victims.” The real victims are the people - overwhelmingly women and LGBTQ folks - who have been raped!
According to RAINN, 23.1% of female undergrads, and 5.4% of male undergrads, “experience rape or sexual assault through physical force, violence, or incapacitation.” That’s almost one out of four of women in college.
Almost the same percentage - 21% - of transgender, genderqueer, and gender nonconforming college students have been sexually assaulted.
College students should be safe on campus. But as these numbers show, women and LGBTQ folks are not. And while the Obama administration worked hard to change this, DeVos and the Trump administration seem to want to roll those changes back in the name of protecting men from false accusations.
This is not normal. This is not okay.
Photo credit: Hulu
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