SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – To fight a culture of victim shaming and to encourage survivors to come forward, state Rep. Terra Costa Howard, D-Glen Ellyn, is calling on U.S. Department of Education Secretary Betsy DeVos to withdraw her attempts to weaken Title IX protections for survivors of sexual assault on college campuses.
“The issue of sexual assault on college campuses needs to be taken seriously,” said Costa Howard. “Survivors of sexual harassment and assault should not be shamed when they report crimes, and they shouldn’t worry that their colleges and universities won’t take these crimes seriously. Unfortunately, Secretary DeVos is trying to make it more difficult for survivors to report these crimes and for colleges and universities to investigate them.”
Costa Howard is sponsoring House Resolution 209 to fight DeVos’ proposed changes to Title IX, which advocates say will deter victims from reporting assaults – while also burdening college and university administrators and infringing on the due-process rights of accused assailants.
“Almost 100,000 individuals and organizations across the country have stood up to tell the Education Department that these changes are a bad idea,” Costa Howard said. “Instead of shaming victims and creating bureaucratic obstacles to justice, the Department of Education needs to put policies into place that will address the problem of sexual violence against students and make our campuses safer. As state Representative, I will continue fighting for smart, effective policies that will protect our young women and make sure that perpetrators face the consequences of their crimes.”