Dear next president,
According to the CDC, about 1 in 5 of my female classmates will be sexually assaulted in their lifetimes.
Most of these assaults will happen within the next four years, as the U.S. Department of Justice reports that “women of college-age” have the highest rate of rape victimizations compared to all other age groups. As we approach our college years, we want to feel safe under an administration that fights for all survivors, enacting regulations that put power into the hands of victims.
Rather than blindly defending men out of your own fear, listen to female survivors out of empathy. A college diploma should not come with lifelong trauma for nearly a quarter of us.
We are not past the days where sexual assault is swept under the rug by officials who claim to protect us. In fact, rates of sexual misconduct on college campuses have increased over the past four years.
It is vital that our next president not only provides schools with the necessary protocols and resources to prevent sexual misconduct on campus but, as a figurehead, lead the country towards a culture that fights against all versions of violence against women. Rape culture should not be perpetuated by our very own leader.
I have seen first-hand, multiple times, that the possibility of skepticism and interrogation from school officials prevent young girls from reporting. DeVos’ new Title IX rules specifically will not only push victims of America’s most underreported crime further underground but also change the definition of “sexual misconduct,” so that most victims are no longer considered as such.
Undoing this country’s long history of silencing victims’ voices is not an easy task, but we demand that you do so.
Claremont High School
Los Angeles County, Calif.