Lamar University Press Logo

Title IX leaves out important component – men

UP graphic by Noah Dawlearn
UP graphic by Noah Dawlearn

Lamar freshmen are required to take a Title IX online course which covers a range of important content, including drugs, alcohol and how to handle them. Crucially, the course covers harassment and sexual abuse. While the information is informative and instructive, it also is incomplete. It focuses on the mistreatment of women and LGBTQ issues, but it leaves out an underreported group — males abused and harassed by females.

To some, this may seem to be a minor issue, but these victims exist more widely than believed, and are completely overlooked in the course.

Between 2011 and 2013, the Society for Prevention Research conducted a cross-sectional survey on more than 71,000 students from 120 U.S. post-secondary education institutions about sexual assault victims. Out of all the victims listed, including cisgender males, cisgender females and LGBTQ students, only three percent of the victims were heterosexually-assaulted males.

Heterosexual males usually don’t report being harassed by women for a number of reasons. Men often question themselves about reporting abuse and harassment, asking, “Will people perceive us as heterophobic, or misunderstand us as consenting partners?” “Will people laugh when we tell them what has happened?” or “Will our cases even be considered?”

I understand these questions as it has happened to me. During my senior year in high school, I was sexually assaulted by a female in my class. She caught me off guard one afternoon and began backing me into the corner of the classroom, grabbing me in inappropriate ways. I pushed her off, shocked that the teacher in the classroom hadn’t already stopped what was happening, but he was completely unaware.

The girl began backing me into the corner again, and I tried to scare her off. Instead, she grabbed my wrist, and continued to push and touch me. It was only when her boyfriend looked up and saw her assaulting me that the situation ended.

A year later I still feel violated by what she did to me. I have social anxiety when I am around women, and that anxiety has cost me friendships. Worst of all, I feel like I have no voice in the matter of relationships, and that has led to a fear of relationships, even with those I care about the most.

Men find it difficult to report these events simply because they tend to hold onto what little pride they have left in themselves. Unfortunately, the only people who know what happens are those who are there and are actually paying attention.

Every man has the right to report these actions, just as much as a woman, but until Title IX is properly enforced, these men will continue to be overlooked by Title IX courses. The information in Title IX needs to represent every person, everywhere, and that is not being done.

This is a serious problem with serious consequences, and it needs serious attention in order to be corrected.

Story by Justin Tompkins, UP contributor

Category: Opinion