Annie Clark was a victim of sexual assault while an undergraduate at the University of North Carolina. Feeling unsupported by campus officials when she raised her voice about the attack, Clark, along with fellow classmate and victim Andrea Pino, filed a Title IX complaint against UNC with the U.S. Department of Education. Title IX requires schools to thoroughly investigate allegations of sexual assault, which Clark says didn’t happen. Their complaints prompted a federal investigation.
Clark also became an activist, helping many other women come forward with their stories. Her work in part has prompted a new initiative by the White House, unveiled this week, to counter the epidemic of sexual assault on college campuses and hold schools accountable for investigating incidents properly.
NotAlone.gov is a website intended to help victims learn what their options are and file complaints. The White House also released a set of recommendations, prepared by the White House Task Force to Protect Students from Sexual Assault, directing college campuses to engage in activities that prevent sexual assaults from happening, make it easier for victims to give voice to their experiences when sexual assault does occur, and improve enforcement of federal law with regard to investigating incidents of sexual violence.
“We want to hold the Education Department accountable without harming investigations or risking the safety of students,” said Annie Clark of NotAlone.gov.
The initiative comes just as the U.S. Department of Education announced that Tufts University is not properly handling sexual assault complaints on its campus. The Education Department also announced it has launched investigations at Columbia and Harvard Universities.
Read WaPo‘s coverage of the initiative here.