Skip to contentNational Women's Law Center

Share Your Story: Do you have a Title IX story to share?

Do you have a Title IX story to share?

More than 40 years of breaking down barriers for women and girls is a spectacular achievement, and we want to mark this milestone and launch Title IX forward into its next 40 years and beyond.  But we need your help!

The National Women's Law Center is compiling Title IX stories from the past and present. We're determined to keep the pressure on to fulfill the law's promise, and by sharing your story today, you can help us do just that.

Please share your story below, and we're not just talking about sports stories. Do you have a story about the science and technology fields, about school bullying and harassment, or about pregnant and/or parenting students? Title IX reaches all those issues and more — and we want to hear those stories, too!

Please note: The views expressed in the stories below are those of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the National Women's Law Center. All statements of fact in these stories have been provided by the individual authors, and the National Women's Law Center cannot and does not vouch for their accuracy. The Center will compile the stories and may use them, in whole or in part, in our advocacy efforts.

Your Stories

Christina Martinez

Sacramento, CA, Early Childhood Education Teacher

Once upon a time, I was a pregnant teen...a sophmore in high school to be exact. As soon as I found out I was pregnant, I knew two things: That I would need to finish high school, & college, and that it would not be easy. Eventually I did go on to complete high school, along with a B.A. and a Master's degree in Education. And it was hard. But unfortunately, my educational journey (with baby in tow) was made much more difficult because I was not aware of the protections I was afforded as a parenting teen under Title IX. Immediately after I found out I was pregnant, I signed up for summer school through my local high school in order to gkeep up with credits so that I could graduate on time. I was already behind in my classes, and new that once my son was born, I was likely to fall even farther behind. I started the summer course during my first trimester of pregnancy, and 2 weeks into the course was hospitalized with hyperemesis gravidarum (also known as severe morning sickness). Upon hospitalization, my mother called the school on my behalf, told them of my situation, asked about ways I could make up work while I was hospitalized. They said no, if i wasn't in attendance, I would have to be dropped from the course. Not only that, I later found out from a classmate, that the summer school teacher annouced to the class that I had been dropped from the course, and told eveyone about my pregnancy. Up until then, no one knew except a few close family members and friends. Had I known about my rights under Title IX, I would have fought to have stayed in the course, and also reported the teacher for breech of confidentiality. Instead, I fell behind a feww units and had to make them up the following summer, with an infant son at home.This is my story.

|

Patsy

Boston, MA, high school student

I am a high school sophomore who was raped and sexually assaulted by two male students who attend the same high school as I do.  The attack occurred off campus and I reported to school officials and police the next day.  When I reported to the school, the principal, associate principal and another administrator immediately started telling my parents and me that the school "is neutral--like Switzerland on this matter."  They refused to remove my assailants from my lunch periods.  They refused to issue a no-contact order, even though the police issued one.  When my parents petitioned the court for a restraining order to keep the rapist away from me--we purposely asked for a mere 50 feet proximity inside the school to allow him to continue to attend school--the associate principal attended the hearing and asked the judge to remove the proximity restriction entirely!  The judge said to him "What number (of distance in feet) can the school work with?" and the assoc. principal answered "Zero feet.  We would like to see zero feet."  When the judge laughed and said "Give me a number above zero", the assoc. principal said "Five feet.  They should be able to pass each other in the stairways and halls within 5 feet."  The associate principal then explained that he felt "sorry" for the rapist and that he was concerned that the restraining order might "interfere with his education and being with his peers."  Meanwhile, I had been absent for 10 days before the order because I was afraid after seeing him in the halls and having him smirk at me and when he came within a foot of me in the cafeteria and laughed in my face--he was close enough that I felt his breath.  t made no difference to the associate principal that the felony rape investigation was still open and that the District Attorney was sitting in the courtroom to show support to me.  The judge gave us the order, but issued it for 15 feet within the school and 50 feet outside.  He told the associate principal "Keep the staggered schedule"--meaning keep him in the classrooms at dismissal so that we would not be in the halls together.  Of course, the school did not accomodate the order in any way.  They did not hold him in the classrooms.  He repeatedly and purposely came up fast behind me in the halls in order to make me startle.  He brushed past me on purpose in stairways.  Once when he thought I was alone in a hallway, he came towards me with his fists clenched and jaw set.  As he rounded a post, he realized I was not alone and when he saw the other student he turned quickly away.  Even though there was video and a witness, the school would do nothing about it.  When I complained about this incident (as I and my parents had done twenty odd times before), the principal responded to me "This isn't a school issue, if you have a problem with him, call the police."  That was the last straw for my mother who, upon hearing that someone told a 15 year old rape victim essentially "go call the cops yourself", immediately called the US Education Department Office of Civil Rights (OCR) and filed a Title IX complaint against the district.  The OCR dispensed with the traditional 30 day review and opened the case for investigation within a few days.  They impounded video and contacted the school to make record of any witness names I had given them.  They made arrangements with the judge to view the tape of the restraining order hearing that the associate principal had testified in.  It is taking months, but they finally completed the last set of interviews within the school this week.  My parents and I should know the findings in two weeks.  The rape occurred 7 months ago.  The investigation is still open and I am still meeting with the District Attorney.  I have no doubt that there is something broken inside the males who raped me.  They are broken and so they want to break things--people.  They are broken, so they wanted to break me.  I get that.  What I don't get is why MY school did what they did...why they wanted to break me!!  Daisy Coleman, Phoebe Prince, the girl across the river from Steubenville--they throw us away like rags.  They--the adults-- we are taught to trust throw us away!  On busses, on billboards, on afternoon TV commercials---they told me that if I told that I would be safe--that they would help me--that I SHOULD TELL! My school betrayed me.  They chose to protect the rapist at my expense.  Not that it should matter, but I was a straight A student--I scored in the top 1% nationally on my PSATs.  I think about all that I had that was lost now--an entire year of high school gone (30+ days absent).Then I think of all the girls who don't have what I had going for me--maybe the girls who aren't top in their class, maybe who didn't even have that going for them, or who didn't have supportive parents, or a mom who even knows that what the school did is a civil rights violation!  What about them?  What about the girl who does hang with the "wrong crowd"? or maybe has slept around with boys?  or maybe doesn't look as conventional or conservative or as mainstream as me?  or who is LGBT?  She deserves to be raped?  She deserves to be abandoned by her school and adults who are supposed to look out for her?  What about the girls who don't have even the little that I had?  Who don't even have the information?  The other day, I was with my mom in a coffee shop and we saw another mom come in with a tiny toddler.  This adorable little girl had a mind of her own and was full of mischief and curiousity--getting into all kinds of trouble while her mother tried to drink a latte.  I know she reminded my mom of me.  I watched her and I asked my mom "So when does she stop being this bundle of curious mischief and wonder and become a 'dumb slut'?  When does it change?  When does she become 'hot or not' or get 'nice tits' or a 'fat ass' or become  'something the boys would like to hit'?  When does it change for her?"  (Sometimes, because now I'm not just a 15 year old, which is brutal enough for my mom,but  I'm a 15 year old rape victim, I think I test people to see if they can handle my hurt--it's not nice, I know...but my mom gets it.)My mom teared up and said:You tell me.  You tell me when it's going to change for her!  What are YOU going to do about it?  You"ll be be in charge soon enough--when she's 15, you will be almost 30.  What will you have done for her?!! My mom's the best!!  Next year, I won't be going back to my public high school.  Instead, I'll be attending a private rigorous high school hoping to earn an International Baccaulaureate Degree.  They gave me a scholarship based on my PSAT scores and past grades.  The Dean of Students wants me to visit Wellesley College in the fall and meet some alumni.  Wellesley is Hillary Clinton's Alma Mater.  I hope I can turn everything around over the next two years and attend Wellesley.In any event, as I continue my education and then go on to a career, I'm going think of that little girl growing up.  I'm going to remember what age she is as I get older.  I'm going to imagine where she is at every stage of my life and ask myself what my mother asked me:  What am I doing to make things change for her?  I am going to make certain that what happened to me will define my life--for the better.That's my Title IX story.  

|

CarolAnn

Boston, Massachusettes, Retired Corporate Controller; Now - Fighting Law School Discrimination

I am having difficulty in law school.  First, being accepted due to my age.  Top Law Schools do not want students over 34 yrs of age.  This has been clearly communicated to me.  The law professors do not want to be 'challenged' I have been told.  Asking questions such as 'why' are considered a challenge.  Thus, the lower ranked schools have professors who grade older students with lower grades so they will not pass.  These professors claim students as myself 'are not competent to practice law.'  Yet, students such as myself see beyond what the professor is teaching 'because' we have many real world experiences.  I suppose these real world experiences that bring forth the questions of 'why' and 'what about this' are the challenges the professors do not experience with the young students without experience of life; work, family, and business.This is currently happening to me.  I am not incompetent 'because' I have proven my abilities as a student, business woman, mother and wife over the past 40 years.  The evidence of my success is as follows: 1. Executive corporate controller in several companies; 2.I have and still do own various small successful businesses that have provided employment and tax revenue; 3. In preparing for the LSAT test and attending law school I retained several professional instructors yet, mysteriously my LSAT results never reached the results from the pre-testing days and my test scantron forms always had various inconsistent markings upon them. The firm that controls the testing, the Law School Admission Council (LSAC) refuses to address the questions.If I am being discriminated against and not being allowed a higher education after all my success in business, family and community then who can say any person other than white males are equal, progrogressing in life, and being given equal opportunity?   I have been told that 'I will not amount to anything in law' and 'I just don't get it, I do not understand one thing about civil procedure.'  This is when I realized these are the words that young people hear often; especially in poor areas, people of various color and ethnicity, women, gay, and any other discription other than the typical white male in the U.S.A.Not one Civil Rights Agency will step forward and take the challenge, my evidence is clear.  Everyone fears the Society of Law, the underground manipulation that has hold of our country and pulling the strings.  Many Law Schools are taking students only for the tuition; then they give them low grades and drop the student with government loans to pay off.   This is happening in Boston and in other states, but no one will step forward.Women, and other minorities cannot proceed in life with false light and words on paper saying things are getting better.  Words on paper are meaningless.  The honor of ones word is shown by taking action and fulfilling what one promised to do, regardless of what is in writing.  February 2014CarolAnn   Boston, Massachusettes 

|

Becky Foellmer

Plainfield, Illinois, Teacher

For me, Title IX meant everything.  I grew up in a small town in southern Illinois and was not allowed to play any sports in school until my junior year in high school.  Athough Title IX passed in 1972, it wasn't until 1974 that my high school finally offered a few girls' sports.  My junior year a tennis and track team were offered and my senior year, volleyball was added.  Of course, my school still was not in compliance with Title IX as there were many more teams and opportunities for the boys.  For me, however, getting to play at least some high school sports (rather than being given the job of statistician for the basketball team as I was in junior high) was amazing!  After sitting on the sidelines and watching for so long, finally getting to participate (in spite of my limited skill development) felt great.  I ended up playing both tennis and badminton in college and even managed to get a scholarship my senior year for badminton.  (It took me a while to develop my skill level to the point of warranting a scholarship.)  While it is perfectly logical to expect equal opportunities for both genders, the fact remains that it wasn't until Title IX passed that things changed for most girls and women, particularly in the athletic arena.  My older sister never got to play organized school sports and my younger sister was blessed to play all she cared to.  I am forever thankful to those who fought for what was right and changed the course of my life and that of so many others.  Sports connected me to people I would have never otherwise known including my husband.   Over the years I have taught in my classes about various forms of discrimination and the importance of fair treatment for all regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, nationality, etc.  It is amazing how many young girls have no idea that there was time when they would not have been allowed on any playing field, court, or track - except as a statistician!  I guess that's a good thing.

|

Diane Crothers

New York, New York, Graduate student

 As I finished my first year of law school in 1972, Congress passed Title IX, designed to ensure equal educational opportunities for girls and women and, a less well-known fact, for boys and men. (President Nixon signed it on June 23, a mere six days after the Watergate burglary that would topple his presidency.) Forty years later, I remember the ways in which my educational opportunities were diminished because of my gender. I am grateful for the commitment of feminists of both sexes to create educational equity for girls and women, boys and men. I have two pre-school granddaughters who deserve the equal treatment that was a dimly perceived dream for me. In the early sixties, in my high school in New Britain, Connecticut, the girls competed to be chosen Homecoming Queen and the boys were, of course, the much-admired football captains. Girls were encouraged to achieve academically, at least white, upper-middle-class girls like me, along with the boys. I was inducted into the National Honor Society and earned mostly A’s in my academic subjects.  But trouble was brewing. I had already been arguing with my parents against curfews and social restrictions that boys didn’t have to obey by the time I was a senior. And then, when I was accepted to several colleges, I felt I didn’t need to obey any more objectionable rules. What were they going to do – revoke my acceptance? I didn’t know that they could, indeed, have done so. I don’t remember exactly how I thought of it, but I suddenly stopped being willing to take any tests in school and began to plot, with my best friend, ways to have increasingly out-of-bounds adventures. We planned to stay in school overnight, hiding in a closet. Somehow, that never came off. And I began to strategize about which boy I could have sex with, for the very first time. At graduation, my high school history teacher exchanged anguished smiles with my mother, who spent her time wringing her hands at my misbehavior. Little did she know that he had asked me out for coffee! He was an excellent teacher for whom I researched Rousseau’s “Emile.” But he also had non-teacherly designs on me. Off to college, where my British Literature professor, alone with me in his office during a consultation about a term paper, grabbed me and kissed me, full on the mouth. I had no idea what to think of this – he was a much older, married, not particularly attractive professor and I couldn’t figure out why he did such a thing. When the next semester my American literature professor, alone with me with a table between us, at least, told me what a beautiful soul I had, I switched majors. No more English for me. (Decades later, the first professor retired and the provost confided to me that his early retirement was related to similar instances with other female students. He provided his female students many, many years of an unequal education, taking them for attractive objects rather than serious students.) In a history class, I wrote a paper about Thomas Jefferson’s views of the City. My professor stopped me in the hallway, once he’d read it. “Where did you get this information?” he demanded. “What do you mean? I researched it,” I stumbled in my answer, afraid of his obvious anger. “I think it’s plagiarized,” he said. “It’s of publishable quality, young lady.” I didn’t have the self-confidence to see this as a potential compliment and to ask him for his support in my becoming a writer. After all, I was searching for a career plan, having switched from English to history. He probably didn’t think female students should have career plans. In law school, I made sure I was never alone with a male professor. It was much later when I realized how this may have compromised my career opportunities – I didn’t develop mentors the way I might have. At this time there were only two female law professors at my school. (One of them was Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and together with another lawyer and other feminists, we founded The Women’s Rights Law Reporter. On a lawwiki.rutgers.edu post of our affectionately-named the People’s Electric Law School at the time, a quick count of faculty photographs shows thirty seven professors, only one of whom is black and only two are women. Professor Ginsburg’s caption says “Doubles as a go-go dancer on the East Side.” Even a future Supreme Court Justice was trapped in her gender. And all the administrative/secretarial staff pictured are women.)  Class discussion was also tainted by gender. The evidence course I took was taught by an expert in the field. One difficulty was that the casebook he had written and that was required in the course was filled with sexual abuse cases, many of them involving gang rape and hideous torture of the female victims. The other barrier women students faced was that he loved to call on the women students to recite the facts of cases of especially salacious sexual violence. The day I reached my breaking point was when he professor asked a female student to discuss a particularly egregious, extended multiple rape and torture crime. He settled in to hear her describe these facts in her lovely voice, a smart and young attractive woman, subordinate to him and expecting to learn from him.  I became unable to watch this display. I dropped the course and waited until it was taught by a professor whose wife was a women’s studies professor in another state, thinking this would be an improvement. It was. We critically discussed the widely accepted legal theory that if an alleged rape victim was a virgin, that fact weighed positively on her credibility, while if she was not, her sexual experience weighed against her. We enjoyed a freewheeling dissection of the ways law and patriarchy interact. My first job after law school was to direct an affirmative action program at part of the City University of New York. The women faculty had sued the university for unequal treatment in hiring, promotion, salaries and benefits and in these post-Watergate days campuses were still lively places of much debate. As I reviewed the application of the law of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and of Title IX at my campus, I discovered a common set of apparent discrepancies. Equally qualified women faculty were paid less than men, hired at lower ranks and evaluated for promotion more stringently. Women students were affected by these inequities as they studied and worked in classrooms still run almost exclusively by men. Some departments were still entirely composed of male faculty. And yet, year after year, federal grants and contracts remained unthreatened. My vice president admonished me that I was not a federal employee, implying that I shouldn’t take enforcing these federal laws so seriously.  Over the years I worked my way to the executive level in the federal government, having spent some years teaching gender and the law as an adjunct at several colleges and universities. The world was changing and I did, too.  And the girls that arrive each year in kindergarten are, as Goldieblox puts it, so much “more than princesses.” Perhaps the world they live in will let them breathe free, the way Emma Lazarus’s poem of long ago imagined for the immigrants on our shores. 

|

Caroline Robinson

Prairie Village, Kansas, School

Is am also doing a NHD project and this was very helpful!!!

|

Caroline Robinson

Prairie Village, Kansas, School

Is am also doing a NHD project and this was very helpful!!!

|

Paulette A. Meulenberg

Frederick, MD, Retired

I am a "senior" citizen, I believe. My story is from the sixties, but still relevant today. I was one of those working during the "space race to the moon" with all the dreams and hopes of the times. Women were excluded in this at every level you could think of. My daughter (Csl-Tech) cannot understand anything we speak of here. My husband has a PHD in nuclear physics from Vanderbilt. For years he told me (proudly!) about a young WOMAN who applied to grad school (the nerve!) and was of course! rejected. Why? She was Catholic, would become pregnant and dropout, wasting everybody's time. It turned out the ENTIRE grad class were drafted and sent to Vietnam as Privates. It took many years and two daughters before he realized the real story here. I hope Vanderbilt has changed for the better. I was also apalled that students were told such by faculty. 

|

Karen

Andover, Mass, Teacher

Here's my story...When I was young I played with the neighborhood kids, mostly boys.  We played everything.  When we grew to be a little older I followed the boys off to little league practice, glove in hand, only to be told I wasn't allowed.  One of my friends was chosen for a team with a coach who would let me practice with them. I played catcher back then, and I was quite good, better than the boy catcher but still the coach couldn't let me play in any games.My friends and I went into middle school, there were sport offerings for me.  I played 6 aside intramural basketball after school.  Things changed  quickly.  I asked why we couldn't run the full court, then experienced the addition of the rover position in basketball... Two forwards only allowed in the front court, two guards only allowed on the back half, and two rovers allowed to run the whole court.  What freedom, I was always a rover.  By the time I got to high school it was five on five full court, we played other schools, and there were numbers of other sports.  My town was great.  The newspaper came to interview me and a few of my friends about Title IX and our experience.  Then I injured my knee.  I was told by the Athletic Director that I should stop playing sports, that the training room, the trainer, and the training supplies were all in the boys lockoom room, all for the boys.  The Director called a meeting with my parents, my mom came and my dad went to work.  Mom sat quiet, listening, the meeting ended, I continued to play.  In secret the trainer, worried about backlash, met me in my last period classroom to tape me every day.  As a graduating senior I was voted the top female athlete in my class and given a number of scholarships.I went off to college to study physical education.  I continued to play sports, with a lingering knee problem until a jump shot freshman year during basketball season tore away what remained of my anterior crutiate,  The school physician said I needed surgery.  I opted to return home to work with my surgeon at home only to hear from him that I should quit playing sports because a scar on my knee would do little for my bikini days on the beach.  Ha. Though much had changed, much had remained the same.  That was 1976.  Still 40 years later we can say the same.

|

Karen

Andover, Mass, Teacher

Here's my story...When I was young I played with the neighborhood kids, mostly boys.  We played everything.  When we gt o be a little older Ingollowed the boys off to little league practice, glove in hand, only to be old I wasn't allowed.  One of my friends got on a team with a coach who would let me practice with them. I played catcher back then, and I was quite good, better than the boy catcher but still the coach couldn't let me play in any games.My friends and I went into middle school, there wesports sport offerings for me.  I played 6 aside intramural basketball after school.  Things changed  quickly.  I asked why we couldn't run the court, then s experienced the addition of the rover position in basketball... Two forwards only allowed in the front court, two guards only allowed on the back half, and two rover allowed to run the whole court.  What freedom, I was always a rover.  By the time I got to high school it was five on five full court, we played other schools, and there were numbers of other sports.  My town was great.  The newspaper came to interview me and a few of my friends about Title IX and our experience.  Then I injured my knee.  I was told by the Athletic Director that I should stop playing sports, that the training oom, the trainer, and the training supplies were all in the boys lockoom room, all for the boys.  the Director called a meeting with my parents, my mom came and my dad went to work.  Mom sat quiet, listening, the meeting ended, I continued to play.  In secret the trainer, worried about backlash, met me in my last period classroom to tape me every day.  As a graduating senior I was voted the top female athlete in my class abpnd given a number of scholarships.i went off to college to study physical education.  I continued to play sports, with a lingering knee problem until a jumpshott freshman year souring basketball seasodrilled away what remained of my anterior crutiate,  the school physician said I needed surgery.  I opted to return home to work with my surgeon at home only to hear from him that I should quit playing sports because a scare on my knee would do little for my bikini days on the beach.  Ha. Though much had changed, much had remained the same.  That was 1976.  Still 40 years later we can say the same.

|

Add Your Story

Maximum file size: 40 MB
Allowed extensions: png gif jpg jpeg
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <blockquote>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.

More information about formatting options

Type the characters you see in this picture. (verify using audio)
Type the characters you see in the picture above; if you can't read them, submit the form and a new image will be generated. Not case sensitive.