Kuster Discusses How to Address Campus Sexual Assault at Roundtable in Upper Valley
Lebanon, NH – This morning, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) brought together leaders working in sexual assault prevention and advocacy from across the Upper Valley to discuss their joint efforts to combat sexual violence on college campuses and in our communities. The roundtable discussion comes less than a week after Kuster shared her own personal experiences with sexual assault throughout her life during a Special Order on the House floor.
“With over one in five women undergraduate students reporting that they were sexually assaulted while enrolled at a college or university, campus sexual assault continues to threaten far too many lives across the country each and every year,” said Congresswoman Kuster. “After hearing the brave words of the Stanford rape case’s ‘Emily Doe,’ I was inspired to come forward and share my own experiences with assault for the first time. I did not share my experiences because they were remarkable or unique. Sadly, I shared them because they are far too common. I am proud to have convened today’s discussion so that we can identify the best approach to tackling sexual violence and change the way we think and talk about this issue in our society. I look forward to continuing this important conversation across the Granite State and with my colleagues in Congress.”
During this morning’s roundtable, participants discussed collaborative efforts between WISE of the Upper Valley and Dartmouth College, as well as how schools and community organizations can best coordinate their efforts to provide support and guidance to individuals affected by sexual violence. Kuster was joined at the table by WISE of the Upper Valley Executive Director Peggy O’Neil, WISE Campus Advocate Delaney Anderson, Dartmouth Sexual Assault Counselor Liz Stahler, and local educators and students, among others.
Also during the roundtable, Kuster shared information about legislative pushes she is making in Congress to help curb sexual assault on campus. A longtime cosponsor of the Campus Safety and Accountability Act, which would require schools that receive federal funding to strengthen prevention, education, and reporting measures, Kuster is also helping to introduce a number of new bills along with her colleague from California, Representative Jackie Speier; the Safe Transfer Act, which would strengthen measures to make students aware if perpetrators transfer to their campuses, and the No Funding for Sexual Harassers Act, which would require schools found guilty of violating Title IX, a statute used in part to evaluate schools that are mishandling sexual assault cases, to report these violations to agencies that bestow grants upon the schools, like NASA and the NSF. Both of these bills would help enhance accountability and improve transparency on college campuses.
Congresswoman Kuster has long been a champion for victims and survivors of sexual or domestic violence. She joined with 17 other Members of Congress to read on the House floor Emily Doe’s open letter describing her attack and ensuing trial – which marked the first time a victim’s statement has been read in full in the House chambers. Last week, Congresswoman Kuster and her colleagues took this action a step further by describing their own personal experiences – or those of their loved ones – involving sexual assault to demonstrate that Emily Doe is not alone, and that steps must be taken to stop sexual violence in our society.