Know Your IX

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.

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  • Mademoiselle

    I like it. Maybe some forward-thinking college will start training faculty and students on what to do when you either experience or are made aware of someone who has been raped. Knowledge should be free flowing on both sides, and I feel like some administrators may not know as much as we think or would like them to know about handling these situations, which leaves victims at an added disadvantage.

  • Burg

    Why is there such a terrible rape culture in colleges?, I want to know what makes guys in college rape…

    • Mademoiselle

      Guys in college don’t rape. Rapists rape, including the ones that make it to college. It’s not a college phenomenon. Schools just give them greater access to victims.

    • Burg

      You don’t become a rapist until you rape.

    • Burg

      One doesn’t become a rapist until they rape and victims are not victims until something happens.

      you can’t just say that rapist make it to college if these young men don’t commit such a terrible act until they are in college. There may be something in college culture, something in that happens to them in that culture, or before they get there that makes them rape.

    • Mademoiselle

      College doesn’t make anyone rape. Raping someone isn’t something that happens to rapists. They’re rapists. That’s why they rape, even if the first time a rapist rapes is in college. Why they became a rapist likely has more to do with their lives before college for those who rape in college. You’re attributing the problem to the location when it’s wholly a function of the individual. Colleges, the military, night clubs, churches, etc. all have the same thing in common: lots of people in one place, hence the number of articles on rape in the military, at schools, proximate to night clubs, by clergymen, etc. It gives rapists a greater opportunity to locate a victim. That’s it. The answer to why a rapist rapes resides in the rapist.

    • JN

      It’s because the image we have of rapists are the creepy ones. The ones that hide out in subways waiting to commit such acts. We do not imagine rapists to be the guys we went on dates with 5 times, the guy friend who is slightly into us but should know better, the semi-popular frat guy that everyone loves. That is why people do not see some college guys as “rapists.” It’s because it is unimaginable that such a guy, in our culture, could commit such acts. It is why so many acts of rape go unreported.

  • guest

    Just like rape in the military, the overwhelming majority of perpetrators are young white men. This is why nothing will be done.

  • Alfalfa

    I’m so glad to see Amherst on this list. I’ve heard from friends of the administration there being absolutely horrible to rape survivors. I’m hopeful for change.