Under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, students and employees at most universities and other educational institutions receiving federal funding have protections against sex discrimination and sexual misconduct. Title IX allows a person who has been the victim of sex discrimination or sexual misconduct to file a complaint through the college or university, but many people ultimately decide not to file a report because they fear retaliation or other consequences associated with filing a complaint. It is important to know that Title IX prohibits retaliation for reporting a Title IX violation or being involved in an investigation, and you can defend against retaliation with assistance from a national Title IX attorney.
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Sexual Violence on College Campuses Can Go Unreported Due to Fears of Retaliation
According to the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSVRC), approximately 25 percent of undergraduate women will experience sexual assault or sexual misconduct during their four years at a college or university, but fewer than half, statistically, will report the violence. Some studies show that reporting rates are much lower. The nonprofit organization Advocates for Youth indicates that only about 12 percent of college students who are survivors of sexual assault will report the incident to the police. A fact sheet from Advocates for Youth cites the following as common reasons for deciding not to report sexual violence:
- Victims do not want other people to know the assault occurred
- Concerns about lack of evidence
- Fears of retaliation
- Concerns that the incident did not constitute sexual assault or unlawful sexual violence
- Fears of poor treatment by others
Understand Forms of Title IX Retaliation
In Title IX cases at colleges and universities, retaliation can take many different forms. In broad terms, retaliation includes any adverse action taken against a person because they reported a Title IX violation or participated in a Title IX investigation. Complainants can face retaliation from students, institutions, or other employees at the institution. Examples of Title IX retaliation may include, for example:
- Faculty member being denied tenure for reporting a Title IX violation
- Employee being demoted or terminated for reporting sexual harassment or misconduct
- Student being graded poorly in a class after accusing a faculty member or another student of sexual misconduct
File a Title IX Retaliation Claim
If you believe you have faced retaliation because of your role in a Title IX case, you may be able to take multiple steps depending upon the facts of the case. Most immediately, you may be able to file a Title IX retaliation claim.
In order to have a successful retaliation claim, you will need to prove the following four required elements outlined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ):
- You engaged in activities or you asserted rights that are protected under Title IX
- Retaliating party knew about your participation in the protected activity
- Retaliating party subjected you to adverse action, treatment, or conditions
- You can show that there is a causal connection between your participation in the protected activity and the adverse action you have experienced
If you have questions about whether the adverse action you have experienced constitutes retaliation, or if you need assistance with a retaliation claim, a national Title IX lawyer can assist you.