Raped Abroad: Extraterritorial Application of Title IX for American University Students Sexually Assaulted While Studying Abroad

Bull, Brittany K | February 1, 2017

Female college students who study abroad are five times more likely to be raped than their counterparts who remain on their domestic campuses. Students raped or sexually assaulted on or around campuses in the United States can seek a remedy under Title IX, which provides administrative and judicial remedies. Very few federal cases have ever addressed whether Title IX applies extraterritorially to allegations of sex discrimination occurring abroad, and courts have reached different results in these cases. Moreover, no federal circuit has ever addressed the issue. This Note explores whether Title IX applies extraterritorially to students raped while studying abroad. After concluding that the text of the statute fails to overcome the presumption against extraterritorial application, this Note analyzes whether Congress should amend Title IX to explicitly overcome this presumption, concluding that it should not. Instead, this Note presents alternative solutions for preventing and responding to sexual violence during study abroad programs, such as federal disclosure legislation and an amendment to the Clery Act that mandates reporting of crimes that occur during study abroad programs.