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“Title IX Isn’t for You, It’s for the University”: Sexual Violence Survivors’ Experiences of Institutional Betrayal in Title IX Investigations

Published onApr 06, 2022
“Title IX Isn’t for You, It’s for the University”: Sexual Violence Survivors’ Experiences of Institutional Betrayal in Title IX Investigations
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“Title IX Isn’t for You, It’s for the University”: Sexual Violence Survivors’ Experiences of Institutional Betrayal in Title IX Investigations
Description

Institutional betrayal occurs when an institution fails to appropriately respond to harm experienced by a member of the institution, such as by failing to act or by mishandling cases. The concept has been applied to higher education institution’s (HEI’s) response to students who experience sexual violence, particularly Title IX investigations, showing that institutional betrayal is common among student survivors. Yet, to our knowledge, institutional betrayal in HEI Title IX investigations has not been qualitatively explored. We conducted interviews of graduate and undergraduate student sexual violence survivors (n=21) who participated in a Title IX investigation at a U.S. HEI to understand their experiences of institutional betrayal. We found that all participants experienced some form of institutional betrayal during the Title IX investigation. Through grounded theory analysis, we identified themes of survivors’ experiences of institutional betrayal including HEI self-protection from liability, lack of agency, HEI culture, and lack of proper support/resources. We discuss implications for institutional responses to survivors that minimize the risk of institutional betrayal.

 

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