Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Independent Student Newspaper for the University of Texas at San Antonio

The Paisano

Empowering students: 1 in 4 college students will be rape survivors


Photo Courtesy of Matt Trevino

Late Sunday night Oct. 6 a group of students posted flyers around campus to bring awareness to the rights provided by Title 9.

Title 9 is a provision of the Education Amendments of 1972 that gives a student certain rights when faced with sexual violence. As an institution that receives federal funding, UTSA is obligated to adhere to Title 9.

“I was raped during my freshman year of college,” said one of the students involved with the demonstration. “I was having panic attacks in class; I wasn’t able to focus or take tests.”

While counseling services are available to help students with emotional trauma, Title 9 provides rights specifically aimed at aiding survivors of sexual assault. “(UTSA) Counseling told me I had to wait three weeks before I could speak to someone. When I asked for help with my classes, they basically told me they couldn’t do much.

According to a study conducted by the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN), one in four college women will survive a rape or attempted rape by the time she graduates college. Statistically, that number translates to approximately 7,500 women at UTSA alone.

The law prohibits discrimination in education and requires that schools be proactive in ensuring an inclusive environment. It requires that schools create a structure which allows victims of discrimination or violence to continue his or her education free of ongoing discrimination.

Title 9 also protects students from potential retaliation and prevents contact between the accuser and the accused. In cases relating to sexual violence, schools are prohibited from encouraging mediation as a replacement for a formal hearing and may not discourage a victim from continuing his or her education.

For students struggling to complete their college courses, incidents of sexual violence can drastically affect their studies.

“I wasn’t aware of the rights I should have under Title 9, and my GPA took a huge hit,” she said.

“If I had known what the campus owed me, I would be a lot more proactive in reaching out to people. I didn’t feel like I had a support system, so I turned to the wrong people.”

The decision to post flyers around campus and write in chalk “Know Your 9” was made in the hopes that college students coping with the effects of sexual violence would be better equipped to exercise their available rights.

“The best thing you can do to get people’s attention is to be a bit radical,” claimed one of the students who helped organize the demonstration.

The Office of Equal Opportunity Services encourages students who have been subjected to sexual discrimination or violence to file a complaint with the Title 9 coordinator Leonard Flaum and UTSAPD.

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