Sessions Information

  • April 30, 2021
    4:30 pm - 5:30 pm
    Session Type: Works-in-Progress
    Session Capacity: N/A
    Hotel: N/A
    Room: N/A
    Floor: N/A
    From Intimate Partner Violence to Civil Protection Order Litigation: Survivors and the Dimensions of Shame

    From the humiliation and degradation that can flow from victimization to the expressed or implied judgment of others about choices made in response to her abuse, a survivor of intimate partner violence is often acutely and repeatedly shamed. Stigmas attached to survivor-litigants statistically likely to utilize the civil protection order (CPO) process – Black, poor, mothers – provide particularly insidious channels for shame. Accordingly, before entering a courthouse to seek legal relief, many survivors have experienced shame, often repeatedly, over their lifetimes. While CPOs are often effective interventions for reducing or stopping violence, obtaining one often demands public disclosure of humiliating and other shame-triggering experiences, broadening a survivor’s shame exposure.

    While many legal scholars and practitioners recognize the impact of trauma on survivors and how litigation can further that traumatization, shame has generally been undertheorized in IPV trauma-informed scholarship. Yet shame is correlated with the onset of PTSD and with other forms of significant emotional distress. A failure to understand shame can lead to misunderstanding of the common behavioral responses a survivor-litigant may employ in response. The result can be a loss of credibility and other outcomes detrimental to a survivor’s claim for legal relief.

    Professor Camp's article examines these dimensions of shame and how they can impact a survivor’s ability to meaningfully access justice. It advances solutions that build upon trauma-informed practices and identifies opportunities to reduce the public, and potentially shame-triggering, exposure often demanded by civil litigation.

    Disaggregating Title IX

    Title IX broadly prohibits sex discrimination, including sexual harassment and assault, in public education. Its purpose is to protect public school students, whether in elementary school, high school, or higher education, from such discrimination. Yet, when courts consider students’ Title IX claims for sexual harassment and assault, they demonstrate an unmistakable tendency to treat students’ Title IX claims differently depending on whether the students are in the K-12 public schools or in higher education. Counterintuitively, the courts tend to both articulate and apply the Title IX sexual harassment standards more stringently in claims brought by college and university students than in claims brought by K-12 students. Consequently, students in the K-12 public schools do not consistently enjoy the same level of protection from Title IX as do college and university students.

    The courts’ apparent instinct to treat K-12 students’ Title IX claims differently from college and university students’ Title IX claims is not wrong but, rather, wrongly applied. Empirical research in psychology demonstrates that K-12 students need more, not relatively less protections from sexual harassment and other forms of sex discrimination in the public schools.

    To remedy this perverse pattern of disparate treatment of students’ Title IX claims, Professor Suski's article proposes a way for courts to disaggregate students’ Title IX sexual harassment claims based on whether the claims are brought by students in the K-12 public schools or by students in higher education.
Session Speakers
Georgetown University Law Center
Works-in-Progress Presenter

University of South Carolina School of Law
Works-in-Progress Presenter

Session Fees

Fees information is not available at this time.