college students are fighting back against sexual assault, but the battle for justice continues

Instances of sexual assault on college campuses have become an epidemic within the United States. According to the Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN), 26.4 percent of female students and 6.8 percent of male students experience sexual assault or rape throughout their undergraduate careers. With the prevalence of these acts of violence in mind, colleges and universities should have adequate support systems set in place to support students who have been victimized. Unfortunately, these systems, such as Title IX offices, often fail to provide the level of support needed by students.

According to a lawyer (interviewed anonymously) who specializes in supporting survivors of sexual assaults through the reporting process, “Title IX is a law that says that students are free from harassment or discrimination in any federally funded program or activity. Public universities are responsible for having a Title IX office to ensure that their students are not being treated in a way that limits their ability to get an education. The purpose of being at college is to get an education; if students are too overwhelmed with being harassed or assaulted they can't get the education they need.”

The advocacy organization Know Your IX, reports that Title IX offices are charged with upholding federal law as dictated by Title IX, which prevents gender discrimination at colleges and universities that receive federal funding. Instances of sexual assault, rape, and domestic violence are considered a limitation to accessing an equal education and fall under the jurisdiction of Title IX offices. These offices are charged with investigating reports of sexual assault, sexual harassment, and intimate partner

Students who are dissatisfied with their universities’ handling of violence on campus have recently garnered national attention. Following an instance of intimate- partner violence (sometimes referred to as dating-violenceor domestic violence) that occurred at the University of Delaware, students took to the streets of their campus, urging the University to respond to the allegations made against student Brandon Freyre.

Freyre has been charged with kidnapping, strangulation, terroristic threatening, and assault following an alleged altercation with a former girlfriend, according to CBS News.

The University of Delaware responded four days after the incident, only after a viral TikTok was posted by user Kiera Marie Spann (@famousblonde) depicting over 500 students protesting the lack of action on the part of the university. Students are now advocating for the prioritization of justice for survivors across the nation. Know Your IX recently conducted a survey with the intention of investigating the educational, financial, career, and health implications of filing a Title IX report with a university following an instance of violence. According to the survey, over 40 percent of participants reported suffering from PTSD, more than one-third of participants reported experiencing anxiety, and more than one- fourth of participants reported becoming depressed after experiencing violence on campus (Know Your IX, “The Cost of Reporting”). With the adverse effects on the mental health of survivors in mind, now more than ever, there is a need for universities to support their students who have experienced sexual assault and harassment.

If you or someone you know has experienced sexual assault, sexual harassment, or intimate partner violence, please see the
resources below:

National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline, available 24/7: 1-800-HOPE
National Sexual Assault Online Hotline, available 24/7:
National Sexual Violence Resource Center directory:

This article has been republished from Renewed Awareness Magazine.

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