CONCORD -- On Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM), Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire is highlighting the importance of the federal Title IX program, which provides protections for sexual assault survivors on campus.
Since joining the Trump-Pence administration, U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos has made it her mission to gut Title IX and weaken protections for sexual assault survivors and those who experience sexual harassment at school. These changes would give more rights to people accused of committing sexual assault and harassment at schools and weaken a school’s responsibility to protect its students.
DeVos has proposed sweeping changes to the program, including:
- Making it easier for colleges and universities to claim a religious exemption from Title IX;
- Letting schools set a tougher standard for proving harassment or assault — which many survivors wouldn’t be able to meet and could deter reporting;
- Allowing schools to refuse to investigate sexual assault cases that take place off campus — even though 87 percent of college students and almost all K-12 students live off campus.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month is a campaign to raise public awareness about sexual violence and educate communities on how to prevent it. The campaign theme, I Ask, champions the message that asking for consent is a healthy, normal, and necessary part of everyday interactions.
One in four women and one in ten men in New Hampshire have been sexually assaulted, according to the Reality of Sexual Assault in New Hampshire report. 41 percent of sexual assaults in New Hampshire are reported before the age of 18, and 83 percent occur before the age of 25. This data underlines the importance of the protections provided by the Title IX program.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England provides care in a safe, compassionate environment for those who have experienced sexual assault. Other services provided at PPNNE’s five New Hampshire health centers include STD testing and treatment, birth control and emergency contraception, options counseling, and abortion.
Additionally, PPNNE provides sex education programs that give young people the reliable, accurate information they need to make responsible decisions and stay healthy. These programs address a comprehensive definition of consent, including that it must be freely given, and fully informed.
Statement from Derek Edry, Communications Manager, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, NH and Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund:
“On Sexual Assault Awareness Month, Planned Parenthood in New Hampshire is calling out Secretary DeVos for her attempts to weaken Title IX protections for sexual assault survivors and those who experience sexual assault on campus. Already, 77 percent of sexual assaults go unreported -- these changes are the opposite of what we need. Students in New Hampshire and across the country should be able to feel safe on campus -- stripping these protections away is unacceptable. Planned Parenthood of Northern New England is proud to offer compassionate and confidential care for anyone in need.”
For immediate assistance with intimate partner violence, please visit the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Assault website to learn more about confidential hotlines and the 13 crisis centers in New Hampshire.
Planned Parenthood of Northern New England (PPNNE) is the largest provider of reproductive and sexual health care for women, men and young people across the State of New Hampshire. We serve New Hampshire residents through 6 health centers in Claremont, Derry, Exeter, Keene, Manchester and White River Junction, VT. Last year we saw nearly 14,000 patients at these sites.
Planned Parenthood New Hampshire Action Fund (PPNHAF) is an independent, nonpartisan, not-for-profit organization formed as the advocacy and political arm of Planned Parenthood of Northern New England in New Hampshire. The Action Fund engages in educational and electoral activity, including voter education, grassroots organizing, and legislative advocacy.