Content warning: This story mentions rape and sexual assault.
Title IX helps protect people from sexual violence or sex-based discrimination. But what actually is it? Well, in blatant terms, Title IX is a federal law enacted as part of the Education Amendments of 1972. It was put in place to end discrimination based on one’s sex, and prevent sexual violence in education or any activity receiving federal grants, which is so important.
People ages 18-24 are at an elevated risk of campus sexual violence. The numbers are alarming and, frankly, can make students feel very overwhelmed. If you’ve been the victim of sexual assault, sexual harassment, or sexual-based discrimination, your Title IX office can help.
Every school receiving federal funds must have a Title IX office, including all public and private schools, colleges, and universities. Coming forward can be scary, but being aware of campus resources and your rights is important. Every student deserves to be in an environment that is safe, welcoming, and free from sexual violence.
What are schools required to do under Title IX?
It can be nerve-wracking to talk about instances of sexual assault, discrimination, or harassment. An average of 63% of sexual assault instances go unreported. There are many different reasons that victims don’t report sexual violence. Unfortunately, one of the top reasons is that in instances of sexual assault, authority figures took no action after the violence was reported, which can discourage victims from coming forward in the future.
Under Title IX, all schools must follow protocols when sexual violence has been reported. The schools are responsible for responding efficiently and quickly. The school must investigate the situation, and take the proper steps to resolve it.
All schools are also required to have a Title IX coordinator. The Title IX coordinator would be responsible for the school’s compliance with Title IX, reviewing all complaints recorded by the school and taking the proper action when cases are reported. Schools must also publish their Title IX policy, and it must be widely accessible to all students.
What can be reported under Title IX?
Under Title IX, instances of sexual assault, violence, or sex-based discrimination can be reported, but what does that actually entail? Well, it includes any unwanted physical contact, stalking, indecent exposure, pay inequity, invasions of sexual privacy, sexually-insulting remarks, and more.
Understanding all students’ rights to a safe educational environment is essential. Title IX is there to put a stop to any acts of sexual violence at school, and to rectify situations ASAP. If you or someone you know have experienced sexual violence at school and want to come forward, contacting your school’s Title IX Office is a great first step.
If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit hotline.rainn.org.