Because of Your Rules
By: Catherine Kane
I reported that he sexually harassed me in my first years of high school. Every time he made a comment about my body, persistently propositioned me, or asked me about my sex life, I felt disgusting and powerless. I tortured myself for nearly two years because I thought I had made myself a target. I tortured myself, and wondered whether or not I was too aggressive when I fought back. When I finally reported what happened to my school officials, I took back the power that was robbed from me for so long. I felt powerful. I felt listened to.
But on August 14th, 2020, everything changed. Because now, we obey your rules.
Because of your rules, he will be automatically notified of my name when I report what
happened. Because of your rules, I am scared into staying silent.
Because of your rules, an advisor to the person who belittled and took advantage of me
will be able to question me in a live hearing. Because of your rules, I am terrified.
Because of your rules, he will be able to appoint his friend to review any evidence given
to the school. Because of your rules, everyone will know.
Because of your rules, there is no recourse if he is only inappropriate once or twice.
Because of your rules, I can’t stop it before it happens again.
Because of your rules, his behavior has to be ‘so severe, pervasive, and objectively
offensive it denies equal access to education’. Because of your rules, nothing will be done.
Because of your rules, the investigation will be longer and harder than it already is.
Because of your rules, I won’t see justice for a long time - if ever.
Because of your rules, what happens off campus won’t be punishable. Because of your
rules, I am terrified for others, and how vulnerable this situation leaves them. Secretary of
Education, Betsy DeVos, as long as these are your Title IX rules, I am not protected. No one is.
Because of your rules, survivors will be silenced and perpetrators will walk free.
To learn more about the Department of Education’s new Title IX regulations visit:
Have you experienced sexual violence? Free, confidential help is available.
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