U.S. News


Sexual Assault Activists Notice Something Missing On White House Site

The call to action page for sexual assault prevention was removed soon after the inauguration, but many critics noticed it only recently.
Posted at 4:50 PM, Sep 01, 2017

The White House website changed a lot right after the inauguration. But removing a report on sexual assault prevention has just recently sparked backlash among advocates.

The report — published in 2014 under the Obama administration — was a "renewed call to action" that addressed the effects of sexual assault. Though absent from the current White House website, it's still available through the Obama administration's archived version, as well as through the advocacy group "Know Your IX."

Also, government-sponsored resources and research on campus sexual assault is still available on the websites for the Department of Justice and Bureau of Journal Statistics.

The co-founder of Know Your IX saw it was removed Wednesday, and news outlets were quick to jump on the story.

HuffPost reported the page was "quietly" and "recently removed," but according to the Internet Archive, it was removed soon after President Donald Trump's inauguration — a move that's normal for any new administration.

But the page's removal isn't the only thing that concerns Title IX advocates.

Last month, sources told BuzzFeed News that Education Secretary Betsy DeVos is considering changing federal Title IX rules. Earlier this summer, DeVos met with sexual assault survivors as well as students accused of violating campus sexual assault policy. Working with her is Candice E. Jackson, a civil rights official and lawyer who represented sexual assault survivors before joining the Education Department.

DeVos also received backlash for including organizations like SAVE in one of her meetings. The Southern Poverty Law Center says the group works to roll back services for domestic abuse survivors and supports those who say they've been falsely accused. The group's involvement has led some advocates, as well as survivors of sexual assault, to doubt Devos' commitment to Title IX.

In July, a letter signed by 20 attorneys general was sent to DeVos urging her to retain protections for sexual assault survivors.

According to The Chronicle of Higher Education, over 83 percent of Title IX cases involving colleges are currently open.