And Even More of Us Are Brave: Intersectionality & Sexual Harassment of Women Students of Color
102 Pages Posted: 15 May 2018 Last revised: 2 Dec 2018
Date Written: May 1, 2018
Events in 2017 highlighted both celebrations of and contests over intersectionality and civil rights. In September 2017, the U.S. Department of Education rescinded Obama-era guidance on sexual harassment and replaced it with interim guidance that allows schools to set different evidentiary standards for investigations of sexual and racial harassment, creating an intersectional legal conflict, particularly for women students of color. This occurred nine months after the 2017 Women’s March, a protest organized and led primarily by women of color, became the largest single-day protest in world history and kicked off a year of increased women’s political participation unprecedented in the U.S.—and less than two months before #MeToo changed the global conversation about sexual harassment.
This article responds to the conflicting narratives preceding and resulting from such events by delving into evidence suggesting that women students of color reported sexual harassment at disproportionately high rates. Further research to confirm this suggestion found much indirect evidence of women of color’s greater vulnerability, particularly in the workplace and criminal contexts, and confirmed that very few published articles commenting on campus sexual harassment used intersectional analyses. Instead, commentary on how race factors into this epidemic renders women victims of color virtually invisible, despite the aforementioned evidence that women students of color are disproportionately targeted. This article therefore discusses several interventions drawn from Social Justice Feminism that seek to prevent this erasure of women of color and place women of color’s experiences of sexual harassment and violence at the center of our analysis and solutions to the problem.
Keywords: Sexual Harassment, Sexual Assault, Sex Discrimination, Gender Discrimination, Race Discrimination, Racial Harassment, Intersectionality, Feminist Theory, Critical Race Feminism, Gender-Based Violence, Gender Harassment, Multiracial, Mixed Race
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