Kelly Oliver on Title IX and the University Politics of Sexual Assault

At LARB here. Oliver argues for two philosophical (read: ethical/political) implications of recent applications of Title IX in American universities:

There are at least two profound philosophical implications to be drawn …First, educational institutions are held responsible for creating the environment allowing, if not fostering, sexual violence; or, conversely, and more to the point, they are held responsible for creating an ethos fostering women’s education, which is not possible when one out of four college women is sexually assaulted and gender-based violence is a constant threat.  The new use of Title IX marks a dramatic change in the attribution of responsibility for sexual assault and rape. …Second, the use of Title IX in cases of sexual assault on campus switches the focus away from individual victims to gender-based violence.  Rather than single out women as random targets of assault, or, as it happens too often, blame them for their own attacks through suggestions that they were asking for it by wearing provocative clothes, behaving in certain ways, or drinking, the focus shifts to the environment in which women are under a constant threat of being sexually assaulted.

Source: Rape on Campus: The Title IX Revolution – The Philosophical Salon