Is dating violence a problem on college campuses
The next wave of Title IX activism, researchers and activists say, will focus on how colleges investigate allegations of and provide resources to students in abusive relationships.And it’s going to be just as complicated and contentious.Olivia Ortiz met her first boyfriend when she was an 18-year-old sophomore at the University of Chicago.She said she set “pretty strong sexual boundaries” with him from the start: He was a 21-year-old senior, but he was also her first kiss, and she told him she didn’t want to go any further than that until she felt comfortable.
It wasn’t until Ortiz contacted that lawyer that she learned her civil rights may have been violated.“Now it’s clear to me that the dean thought what happened was just a dispute, and that I was just being a crazy ex-girlfriend,” Ortiz said.He ignored her and pressured her for months, she said, and often tried to take advantage of her when she was drunk or sleeping.Sometimes, Ortiz said, she would wake up to him touching her while she had been unconscious.Her complaint led to a still-ongoing federal Title IX investigation against the University of Chicago, but it also led to mental health issues that forced Ortiz to take a leave of absence, she said.Ortiz’s ex-boyfriend graduated the day after the mediation.
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Even so, “schools are totally lost on how to respond to violence when it occurs in the context of a dating relationship,” said Dana Bolger, co-founder of Know Your IX, an activist group that has lobbied for dating violence to be taken seriously on campuses.