PERL works from the assumption that rape should be illegal — in theory and in practice. We also believe that rape is rape — on campus or off.
We oppose the expansion of Title IX to grant schools judicial powers over sexual assault cases, a process that the White House and many advocates promote.
We recognize that there are many questions about how this process impacts due process rights of victims and the accused.
We worry that mainstream campus rape activism is setting back long-fought feminist struggles for access to criminal justice for rape victims.
Policies encourage students to report sex crimes to school administrators instead of police, — casting rape as a para-criminal offense to be handled internally by schools.
There are many reasons rape victims choose not to report to police. Reasons that need addressing. Unfortunately, the White House’s campus rape activism fails to do this.
“That so many students would rather report rape to a school administrator than a police officer is a sign of how badly the criminal justice system has failed rape victims, and how law enforcement must earn back their trust,” said Meaghan Ybos, executive director of People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws, a Memphis-based advocacy nonprofit that monitors law enforcement responses to sexual violence and helps connect victims to information about their rights.
Ybos’ activism is motivated by her own personal experience, not only as a survivor of rape but as a victim of Memphis’s so-called rape kit backlog which allowed the physical evidence of her assault — and more than 12,000 others — to go untested for nearly 10 years while her attacker roamed free.
Ybos said she finds it disconcerting that the Department of Education seems to have accumulated a backlog of its own, especially considering the fact that sexual assault is just one of several issues the OCR covers.
Even with increased funding to help the OCR close more of its open investigations and better enforce Title IX, Ybos argued, “school discipline should not be a substitute for the criminal justice system.”
Read the full article in its original form here.
People for the Enforcement of Rape Laws is a program of the Mid-South Peace and Justice Center to monitor law enforcement responses to sexual violence. Our goal is to end the law enforcement and political practices that effectively decriminalize sexual violence. To this end, we connect victims with information about their rights and equip individuals with tools to advocate for themselves and others and advocate for fair criminal justice policies. We urge you to learn more about America’s hidden rape crisis, where it has been exposed, and why it matters. We invite you to take action and support our efforts to make sure law enforcement takes rape seriously.