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Even the department’s language changed, no longer referring antiseptically to a complainant and an accused but rather to victims or survivors, and perpetrators.

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Title IX (of the Education Amendments of 1972) was supposed to promote equal opportunity in any educational program receiving federal money.

But until recently, Title IX was dormant and largely ignored.

I worked for changes to the retrograde definition of rape in statutes around the country and their disrespectful treatment of rape victims, laws that were a throwback to medieval conceptions about women.

I lobbied for rape shield laws that limited the defense counsel’s cross-examination of a woman about her prior sexual experiences.

Too often colleges and universities had excused or turned a blind eye to the crimes of serial sexual predators.

The media, after often dismissing the claims of rape victims, was finally more sympathetic, covering accounts of sexual violence from the University of Virginia to Yale and Harvard. It was as if women, especially young women, had to speak especially loudly and especially often to finally be heard—a not unfamiliar concept.I understood what it meant to have a defendant’s liberty hanging in the balance, how long terms of imprisonment could wreak havoc on the lives of defendants and their families.I appreciated the stigma of the very accusation, which persists—especially today on the Internet—even if the accused is exonerated.In fact, feminists should be especially concerned, not just about creating enforcement proceedings, but about their fairness.If there is a widespread perception that the balance has tilted from no rights for victims to no due process for the accused, we risk a backlash.To the extent that the man’s conduct was considered at all, the statutes required that he use force before his acts amounted to rape; drugging a woman, or having sex with one wholly incapacitated by alcohol, was not enough.

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