Anonymous Thoughts on Title IX
Content Warning: Sexual Assault/Rape/Title IX

I got into an abusive relationship my first year at Vassar. I tried to leave him (Y) seven times but he would stalk me on campus or blow up my phone until I got back together with him. It was also my first year at Vassar and Y’s last year. The power dynamics were horrifying. Another survivor and I reported our abuser to Title IX last year. The process ended up lasting over five months. More than 15 people got dragged in to testify for either Y or the survivors. Throughout the process Y filed multiple complaints of harassment against me and others.

The resource that was supposed to be a justice attaining healing source so easily became weaponized against the survivors. I thought Y was the exception for abusers/rapists that have the audacity to file Title IXs against survivors, but I was wrong. As I joined multiple healing spaces for survivors of SA at Vassar, I heard more about how traumatizing the Title IX process was for the survivors that filed. I heard about instances of the abuser filing complaints against the survivor, of rich abusers bringing in lawyers with lawsuits, and more.

An abuser can easily turn Title IX into a “game.” “Game” because any person can file a complaint, and the office will have to investigate. An abuser can easily claim Malicious Intent or Harassment for the survivor speaking out about their experience. And then what? It’s almost as if the Title IX Office expects the survivor to file a Retaliation claim back at the abuser. A “game” emerges of who can file the most claims and stand through the process the longest.  These dirty tricks happen because there simply is no rule against it.

I am not writing this to show abusers a way out of a Title IX–they have already been doing this. My point is to expose the corruptness of the Title IX process and to explain how this process ultimately ends up serving people who abuse and manipulate systems/people.

People don’t understand how traumatizing the Title IX process is. The process goes on for months, and the survivor is forced to relive and explain why their experience is valid. In instances where the abuser denies the allegations (which is the majority of the time), the abuser jumps at the chance to twist the words in the survivor’s testimony. Even if the abuser doesn’t file a case against the survivor, the system becomes an accessible way for the abuser to further abuse and gaslight the survivor.

This relates to a more extensive conversation on how society views/treats sexual assault, justice, and education. However, now, on the Vassar campus, we need to recognize this problem. Why is it all hush-hush when you see the rapist walking around campus? Why is the rapist still walking on this campus? Why does the survivor have to relive trauma every time they see the rapist? Why are people immediately kicked off campus for breaking COVID-19 rules while rapists are allowed to stay? What are the priorities of this school?

There needs to be a new way we view these harms. A way that fully supports the survivor and applies justice to the perpetrator in a transformative way. One that ensures the perpetrator genuinely acknowledges the harm they caused, and ensures they commit to change in a way that does not burden the survivor. If we allow these abusers and rapists to continue walking around campus, then they should be going through intensive therapy and discussions that lead them to recognize how they have harmed another person, but ultimately, they must want to change.

College Regulations Handbook

Sexual Assault and Rape on College Campuses Statistics/Info