By Ben Kamisar
Hillary ClintonHillary Rodham ClintonOvernight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule Colin Kaepernick: Clinton, Trump ‘embarrassing’ The Trail 2016: The fallout MORE pledged to confront rape and sexual assault on college campuses if elected president, at a Monday speech at the University of Northern Iowa.
“As president, I’ll fight to make sure every campus offers every survivor the support she needs and will make sure those services are comprehensive, confidential and coordinated,” she said, adding that sexual assault survivors include men and the transgender community.
“Rape is a crime wherever it happens and schools have an obligation. I think it’s both a legal obligation and a moral obligation, to protect every student’s right to get an education free from discrimination, free from fear.”
That legal obligation falls under Title IX, which protects against sex discrimination in all federally funded education programs, as well as the Clery Act, which mandates crime reporting and certain resources for survivors.
Noting a recent Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll that found that one in five women reported being sexually assaulted during college, Clinton outlined the need to shore up services for survivors as well as bolster “prevention efforts to change attitudes associated with violence.” She said that the issue “is a lot bigger than a single conversation at freshman orientation,” while praising the work of those striving to address the problem.
NBC News, which reported on the announcement ahead of her remarks, added that her plan would aim to strengthen “disciplinary proceedings for both accusers and the accused.”
She lauded the Obama administration’s work on the issue and promised to carry the torch if elected president. The White House launched the It’s On Us campaign last year, targeted at ending sexual assaults on college campuses and authored a “Dear Colleague” letter in 2011 that spelled out the Department of Education’s views on schools’ responsibility to combat the issue.
“I want to send a message to all of the survivors,” she said.
“Don’t let anyone silence your voice, you have the right to be heard, the right be believed, and we are with you as you go forward.”
Clinton then tacked to a full-throated criticism of her GOP rivals on women’s issues. She hit Donald TrumpDonald TrumpOvernight Energy: Judges scrutinize Obama climate rule Colin Kaepernick: Clinton, Trump ‘embarrassing’ The Trail 2016: The fallout MORE, who she referred to as the “flamboyant front-runner” for not respecting women; Sen. Marco RubioMarco RubioObama nominates ambassador to Cuba Rubio praises Marlins pitcher José Fernández on Senate floor Glenn Beck: I was wrong about Ted Cruz MORE (R-Fla.) for his opposition to abortion rights for victims of rape and incest; former Gov. Jeb Bush for comments that he later walked back about women’s health spending; and retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson for questioning if circumstances arise when an abortion could save the life of a mother.
“They are Trump without the pizzazz and the hair,” she said of the rest of the GOP field.
“I am not going to let them shame and blame women,” Clinton said.
Her swing through Iowa comes amid a slide at the polls that’s narrowed the gap between her and her closest opponent, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersThe Trail 2016: The fallout Ex-Sanders aide: 'Hubris’ hurt Trump’s debate Latinos matter: Donald Trump and Hillary missed huge in first debate? MORE (I-Vt.), as well as rumors of a potential bid by Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenYes, this election will change America forever The FCC’s Privacy Problem Strong, committed leadership needed to destroy ISIS MORE.