A 2011 “Dear Colleague” letter issued by Barack Obama’s Office of Civil Rights reaffirmed that sexual violence in educational institutions constitutes a Title IX violation. The letter reminded colleges that Title IX and Clery Act compliance – and continued federal funding -requires on-campus training programs to prevent and reduce sexual assault and harassment. As the schools struggled to end the problem of sexual misconduct, they mandated students, staff, and faculty to participate in online or in-person trainings. All of this prompted our team to ask the rather straightforward question: Does mandatory training actually help change campus climates and reduce sexual misconduct?
The perfect mother is a ubiquitous, if impossible, part of American life. We see her in spandex at the gym, working out—self-care!—a week after delivering twins. She’s at center-stage when internet experts opine about how mothers can prevent teenagers’ opioid addictions. In the shadow of this unattainable, idealized vision of a mother as a virtual guarantor of their children’s health and happiness, actual mothers berate themselves for falling short of perfection, feeling ashamed and inadequate. In the American legal system, the pervasive stereotype of the perfect mother can lead to serious consequences, dramatically distorting the judgments of police, prosecutors, judges, and jurors.
HUMPHREY SCHOOL OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS
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Center on Women, Gender, and Public Policy
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