Bipartisan Group of Lawmakers Launch Task Force to End Sexual Violence
(Washington, DC)- Today, a group of lawmakers launched the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. The Task Force is led by Representatives Annie Kuster (NH-02), Patrick Meehan (PA-07), Jackie Speier (CA-14), and David Joyce (OH-14). It will bring together Republicans and Democrats to advance legislative proposals and initiatives to address sexual violence. Areas of the Task Force’s focus will include: K-12 education, college campus safety, the rape kit backlog, military sexual trauma, ending online harassment, improved data and collection, and law enforcement training. Throughout the rest of the 115th Congress, the Task Force will be holding hearings on its areas of focus, developing and releasing a legislative agenda, and hosting educational briefings for staff and Members to raise awareness about the primary policy issues related to sexual violence.
The Task Force will focus on increasing its membership in the coming weeks and months. It's current members include Jackie Walorski (R-IN), Carolyn Maloney (D-NY), Carlos Curbelo (R-FL), Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), Lynn Jenkins (R-KS), Lois Frankel (D-FL), Ryan Costello (R-FL), Katherine Clark (D-MA), Ted Poe (R-TX), and Tom Reed (R-NY).
"The issue of sexual assault and sexual violence is one that cuts across party lines and impacts women, men, and families in every single district of this country," said Congresswoman Kuster. "It’s also an issue that’s deeply personal for me. Last year, for the first time, I shared my own experiences of sexual assault. Doing so was not easy. The stigma that surrounds this issue has silenced many survivors, but it's long past time we shatter that silence. The Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence will serve as a force to drive legislation and policy that will support survivors of sexual assault and educate our fellow members of Congress as well as the public about how we can end this persistent problem. I'm excited to get to work with my co-chairs to bring together members on both sides of the aisle to address this critical issue."
“I’ve worked closely with the victims of sexual violence since my early days as a prosecutor, and I’ve worked extensively with the law enforcement personnel, health care providers, and victims’ services groups that are on the front lines of the fight against sexual assault every day,” said Congressman Meehan. “There’s more that we can do at the federal level to prevent sexual violence and aid the victims and those who support them. This task force will build off the successful model of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force – work collaboratively, across party lines, identify challenges and find areas of common ground in solving them. I’m grateful to partner with Reps. Kuster, Joyce and Speier on this bipartisan effort and I look forward to working with them and the other members on this issue.”
“As of Monday, April 3, the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights was conducting 317 sexual violence investigations at 227 colleges and universities,” said Congresswoman Speier. “And the problem is by no means limited to educational institutions. Sexual violence is prevalent in our armed forces, in the workplace, and in every corner of America. That is why I am so proud to join my Republican and Democratic colleagues in the formation of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. By joining forces and checking our political ideologies at the door we can not only fight this insidious problem that impacts all Americans, we can relegate it to the dustbin of history.”
“As a former prosecutor, I’ve seen what sexual violence can do to a person,” said Congressman David Joyce. “This task force will work across party lines to make sure we help those who need help, provide resources to our law enforcement to solve these heinous crimes and educate those who are unaware of how this violence impacts our society.”