Alyssa Milano has never been shy about sharing how much she dislikes Betsy DeVos and her policies. Milano is also a passionate activist for the rights of sexual assault survivors. We would like to say that it's rare that educational policies and sexual assault come together as a subject, but it's 2018 and we know you have heard the news. Those two things come together way more often than any of us should be comfortable with.
Schools have found themselves in the hot seat more than once in recent history with regard to how they handle sexual assaults on campus. The assaults typically happened between students, but in some cases the assaults happened to students at the hands of staff members. In either situation, the survivors had a right to be protected - which didn't always happen.
As the issue of sexual assault on school grounds continues to be something schools are working through, Ms. DeVos decided to step in and use her power and influence to help things along. She didn't implement victims rights programs, offer retraining, start panels to get to the root of why it keeps happening or anything like that. No Betsy DeVos suggested re-writes to the Title IX federal laws meant to ensure gender equality in education.
She proposed changing the definition of sexual assault to a much more narrow term. There can't be as many sexual assaults on campus if violations no longer "count" as sexual assault.
Yeah, that's not AT ALL what sexual assault survivors or their allies wanted. They want to stop being violated, Betsy, not for their violations to somehow no longer qualify as violations. Alyssa Milano wasn't the only person horrified by what a ridiculous non-solution this was. Thousands of people spoke out against it immediately.
Alyssa just did it in a more poetic and Seuss-ian way. Check out this video of her reading us all a story about how this solution is the literal worst.
A Story of #OneShIXttyGift from Betsy DeVos: Narrated by Alyssa Milano www.youtube.com
Milano shared the video with her followers and Twitter was LIVID. Apparently a lot of people didn't even realize this was happening!
We will keep you updated as the law (and this "gift") develops.