Betsy Devos to Consult "Men's Rights Activists" on the Issue of Campus Rape

By: Ariel Wodarcyk

 Betsy Devos, photo via  Daily Kos

Betsy Devos, photo via Daily Kos

The Obama administration made great strides in improving Title IX campus rape regulations, including requiring university policies to handle sexual assault allegations, and protecting victims from further retaliatory attacks. As the new leader of the Department of Education, it’s up to Betsy DeVos if such regulations will still stand.

To aid her decision, Politico reported that DeVos is planning meetings with survivor advocacy groups, including Know Your IX and End Rape on Campus, and “men’s rights” organizations, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and the National Coalition for Men.

The latter organizations have fought against stricter policies to keep rape survivors safe, completely dismissed rape allegations from victims, and asserted that most women fabricate their rapes. They have sued organizations for hosting women’s only-events, claimed that domestic violence laws encroach on the privacy of families, and grossly overestimated both the number of false rape allegations, and the severity in punishment that rapists face. These groups are ill-informed, highly misogynistic, and may impact how sexual violence is dealt with on campuses nationwide.

In reality, only about 2% of rape accusations are false, and only 344 out of every 1,000 rapes are ever reported. This means that about two-thirds of rapes go unreported, often due to fears of disbelief, retaliation, and reliving past trauma. Of the cases that are reported, it is incredibly rare for rapists to see jail time, or even school expulsion, which disproves yet another falsehood spread by the men’s rights groups DeVos is consulting on the issue of campus sexual assault.

Nearly 25% of college women and about 5% of college men will experience rape or sexual assault on campus. The Obama administration's 2011 updates to Title IX were established to protect the rights not only of these survivors, but LGBTQ+ and undocumented students as well. As of now, it is frighteningly unclear if Betsy DeVos will uphold these same standards.