On September 22 of last year, Betsy DeVos rescinded Obama-era guidance and announced that the Department of Education would be issuing binding regulations on Title IX.
A draft of these new rules got released and the Education Department claims that this proposal would help colleges and universities save hundreds of millions of dollars. The problem is that this money-saving plan will be the result of lowering the bar for when colleges must conduct sexual-assault or sexual-harassment investigations under Title IX. Basically, DeVos is saying that if campus administrators were conducting fewer investigations, colleges wouldn’t have to spend as much money on them.
This plan poses a major threat to survivors of sexual violence as the definition of sexual harassment and violence may become narrower in college campuses. Additionally, schools would only be responsible for “formal” complaints, which would be the ones “made to an official who has the authority to institute corrective measures,” not someone like a resident adviser. All these limitations would discourage students from coming forward and it is not helping eradicate the actual problem: People who perpetrate sexual violence.
In light of all this, the organization Know Your IX, started a Twitter campaign asking survivors to share the cost of sexual violence in their lives by using #WhatViolenceCostMe. Here are some of the powerful tweets:
#WhatViolenceCostMe @BetsyDeVosED— Sage Carson (@Sage_Gaea) September 11, 2018
– $580 for train tickets to go home every weekend to avoid my abusers
– $700+ in copays for medical appointments connected to the violence
– $15,930 in classes I had to drop, but still paid for
– $12,000 after losing merit based scholarships
Unmeasurable time and money spent in doctors offices, therapy, meetings with attorneys, and with professional staff to work on getting through my case, academics, and everyday life.— Kaitlyn Keech (@kaitkeech) September 11, 2018
I lost my voice, worth, sense of security, trust, sleep, and more.#WhatViolenceCostMe
On top of the thousands of dollars in missed/dropped classes, ER visits from severe panic and anxiety attacks, therapy, antidepressants, sleep and anxiety meds.— Blue Rose🌀 (@MorganStillYDGN) September 11, 2018
It cost me myself, like I no longer feel safe no mater where I go or who I am with #WhatViolenceCostMe
Dear @BetsyDeVosED : After I was raped on campus in 1989 I dropped out of college. I finally finished at a private college in 2007.If I’d finished my final year of in 1989 it would have been $600 in tuition. It cost $47k at age 40. #WhatViolenceCostMe— (((Chrisa Hickey))) (@Chrisa_Hickey) September 11, 2018
My mental health, thousands in medical bills, almost every friendship, the career I had planned & studied for, too many days of missed work to count for court/PTSD flare ups, any sense of safety in the world – just to start. #WhatViolenceCostMe— Abby Honold (@abbyhonold) September 11, 2018
Not to mention:— Emily Harrison (@emmyfromminny) September 11, 2018
◾️Inability to enjoy nights out with friends
◾️Feeling unsafe in every bar, club, and party
◾️Not being able to trust partners
◾️Mental, physical, and emotional destruction due to unhealthy coping mechanisms#WhatViolenceCostMe: a lot more than money
Catharsis Productions' mission is to change the world by producing innovative, accessible and research-supported programming that challenges oppressive attitudes and shifts behavior.