Far too many college women are victims of sexual assault. ABC News reports one in four women is raped during her college matriculation and nine in 10 of those women know their attackers.
The Steubenville case shined a national spotlight on this troubling issue. Now, some college students are bringing the fight against rape culture to their institution’s administrators. Activists from Amherst College, the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill, Yale University, Occidental College, Northwestern University, and Rice University are using their voices to raise awareness about rape and offer solutions to prevent it.
The “Know Your IX” project is a collaborative effort designed to implement systemic change on college campuses throughout the United States. The name is derived from Title IX of the 1972 Education Amendments. One of the lesser-known components of that bill is the removal of federal funds from colleges that ignore or conceal sexual harassment or assault.
The leaders of the collective explain the purpose of the campaign on their Indiegogo page:
Know Your IX is a campaign that aims to educate every college student in the U.S. about his or her rights under Title IX by the start of the Fall 2013 academic term. Armed with information, survivors will be able to advocate for themselves during their schools’ grievance proceedings and, if Title IX guarantees are not respected, to file a complaint against their colleges with the Department of Education’s Office for Civil Rights. When colleges are confronted with their students’ knowledge and thirst for justice, they will be forced to take proactive steps to end sexual violence, ensuring every student a safe educational environment.
Yale alumna Alexandry Brodsky is one of the leading voices on this issue. Brodsky is a victim of sexual assault and was discouraged from filing a complaint against her attacker by Yale University officials. She hopes the “Know Your IX” movement prompts a different response from administrators in the future.
“The truth is the media likes to cover a particular type of survivor: white, ostensibly straight, and from a big-name school,” she told PolicyMic. “I don’t want to erase the work of our partners who don’t fit that profile and are still making headlines, but people like Dana [Bolger] and me are getting a disproportionate amount of attention. We need to not just include marginalized experiences but centralize those [in our campaign] by incorporating a general anti-oppression approach.”
Bolger, a student at Amherst, wants to use “Know Your IX” to tell the stories often neglected in media.
“It’s important to record everything as it’s happening: what the administration is saying, survivors’ stories. If you have all of that down, you can decide what to do with it,” she said to PolicyMic.
“This needs to be built into your strategy as organizers, to raise consciousness in your community. For example, a fraternity at Amherst made an offensive shirt during spring quarter. In the fall we finally wrote a piece about it, and that received a lot of attention. It’s easy as organizers to forget that you have knowledge that not everyone is privy to. Sharing that information is vital.”
“Know Your IX” has several central goals, including:
- Creating “an extensive website with fact sheets and other resources (also available in campus women’s centers across the U.S.) to inform students about their rights and the Title IX complaint process.”
- Organizing “an intensive social media campaign to make Title IX knowledge ‘go viral.”
- Purchase “full-page advertisements of Title IX rights in student newspapers the first week of the fall semester.”
The collective is also dedicated to uplifting marginalized voices in this struggle and responding to the basic needs of survivors.
“Know Your IX” has launched an online fundraiser to mobilize grassroots donations. The collective seeks $10,000 and has already raised more than $7,000.
You can donate to “Know Your IX” through the collective’s Indiegogo funding page.