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Betsy DeVos Watch: Title IX listening sessions give voice to anti-feminist groups that minimize sexual assault and rape on campus

July 18, 2017

Last Thursday, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos hosted what she called a “Title IX Listening session.”

The media release for the event stated that, “DeVos announced she will convene a diverse group of stakeholders at the Department of Education Thursday, July 13 to discuss the impact of the Department’s Title IX sexual assault guidance on students, families and institutions.”

Sounds like it was a good thing to do. However, upon closer examination, some of the “stakeholders” that DeVos had invited were made up mostly of mens groups that are anti-feminist and are making the claim that too often women on campus are wrongfully accusing men of committing sexual assault.

Some of the organizations invite by Betsy DeVos are groups like National Coalition for Men Carolinas, which is a chapter of a national organization. This organization’s website states the following:

Men are easy targets, often staying silent while being publicly attacked by radical feminists and the media. But that is changing. Men are uniting and standing their ground against anti-male hatred and directed discrimination.

Besides their anti-feminist propaganda, one thing that the National Coalition for Men does is publish photos, names, and biographical details of women who have accused men—falsely, the National Coalition for Men insists—of rape. Its members routinely bring lawsuits against women-only networking groups and social events, crying discrimination.

Another group invited by Secretary DeVos to the Title IX listening session was Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (Save). SAVE is another anti-feminist organization that believes that campuses are experiencing “rape culture hysteria.”

According to a recent article on Slate.com, “The Southern Poverty Law Center has identified SAVE, which opposes rules that prevent defense attorneys from entering evidence of a survivor’s sexual history in a rape trial, as a planet in the “manosphere” of misogynist online forums. SAVE lobbies against domestic violence protections, claims that the “leading reason” for abuse is “female initiation of partner violence,” and calls falsely accused perpetrators the “true victims of abuse.” 

One addition group invited to the Title IX listening sessions was Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE). The FACE website is full of videos, commentary and links that make the claim that too many men on college campuses across the US are being falsely accused of sexual assault and rape.

Sexual Assault and rape at US campuses across the country are a serious matter, but the new administration, through the efforts of Betsy DeVos, are making it clear that they want to overturn the gains made by women’s groups who have fought against violence for decades.

The Michigan Student Power group has been circulating a petition in response to Betsy DeVos’s Title IX listening sessions, which provides some useful analysis of last week’s meeting.

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