Former Vice President Joe Biden did not mince words about U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos in a recent interview with Teen Vogue.
In the interview, published Friday afternoon, Biden discussed his sexual assault prevention organization It’s On Us and why everyone needs to be included in the fight against sexual violence ― especially with the Trump administration in power.
“We’re trying to let young men understand that without consent, meaning saying yes, it is OK to touch me, yes it is OK to pull me into this bed, yes it is OK to have intercourse with me, then it is not consent,” Biden told Teen Vogue. “If a young woman is drunk, SHE CANNOT CONSENT. She cannot consent, and it’s rape. It’s rape. It’s rape. It’s rape. I wanted them to see because it’s clear what the subtext is.”
Title IX, which prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in educational institutions or programs that receive federal funding, is best known in the context of demands for equal treatment of female and male student athletes. But given that sexual harassment and violence are forms of gender discrimination, the law also offers important protections for student victims of these crimes. Students who are survivors of sexual violence have historically been able to seek justice through the Title IX framework.
It bothers me most if Secretary DeVos is going to really dumb down Title IX enforcement. The real message, the real frightening message you’re going to send out is, our culture says it’s OK. Former Vice President Joe Biden
Biden told Teen Vogue that the Secretary of Education is sending a “frightening message” to students and parents by refusing to affirm during her confirmation hearing that she would uphold a 2011 Title IX guidance “as it relates to sexual assault on campus.”
“It bothers me most if Secretary DeVos is going to really dumb down Title IX enforcement,” Biden said. “The real message, the real frightening message you’re going to send out is, our culture says it’s OK. You know, the major reason why women drop out of college when they’re a freshman is because of sexual assault. Not their grades, sexual assault. And so, it would be devastating.”
The most important thought in parents’ minds, Biden said, is their child’s safety. And if DeVos doesn’t enforce Title IX that peace of mind will be gone for parents of college students.
No father or mother should drop their kid off this late August, early September at their first day at college and drive away worried [if she is] going to be safe. parents don’t drive away saying, Is she going to do all right in school? Is she academically qualified? Will she show up for class? How well is she going to do? That’s not the conversation going on. The conversation that’s going on is, is she going to be safe? That is an obligation of the school, and Title IX is the vehicle, and when Secretary DeVos by her silence didn’t affirm that rape and sexual assault are forms of sexual discrimination... God, if anything is sexual discrimination, it’s rape and assault. And that’s why schools have an obligation under Title IX to prevent this from happening.
Head over to Teen Vogue to read their full interview with Joe Biden.