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Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster

Representing the 2nd District of New Hampshire

Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence Holds Roundtable on Cyber Harassment and Abuse

Apr 3, 2019
Press Release

(Washington, DC) – Today, Representatives Annie Kuster (D-NH), David Joyce (R-OH), Jackie Speier (D-CA), and John Katko (R-NY), the co-chairs of the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence, held a Task Force roundtable on cyber harassment and abuse.

The Bipartisan Task Force is raising awareness about the prevalence of cyber harassment and abuse. According to the Pew Research Center, 20% of adult internet users have been affected by cyberstalking, persistent harassing emails, or other unwanted online contact. Additionally, the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative reports that 1 out of every 8 social media users have been targets of nonconsensual pornography. Online abuse like “sextortion,” “swatting,” and “doxing" are also common and have long-term ramifications on those who experience it. 

The Task Force was joined by:

-Mary Anne Franks, Legislative & Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and Professor of Law at the University of Miami

-Annmarie Chiarini, Survivor, and Victims Services Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative

-Jennifer Hanley, Safety Policy Manager at Facebook

“We are grateful to have the opportunity to hear from subject-matter experts on sexual violence in the cyber realm,” said the Task Force Co-Chairs. “Perpetrators use digital platforms to carry out heinous acts of abuse and harassment. We must take a holistic approach that involves criminalizing this behavior, supporting survivors, and expanding educational opportunities, particularly to young people, to address it and prevent its occurrence. Aligning this work in conjunction with the efforts of state governments and private partners is critical to elevating this issue and building momentum for solutions. Sexual violence has nothing to do with party affiliation, and in Congress we remain committed to championing commonsense, bipartisan legislation that will help eradicate this scourge.”

"Having seen this issue as both a victim and an advocate, I'm heartened by the legislative progress we've seen. After today's discussion, I'm hopeful that further legislation and resources for victims is within reach," said Annmarie Chiarini, Survivor, and Victims Services Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative.

“Strong, clear action from Congress is needed to address the problem of online abuse. Cyber sexual violence erodes privacy, free speech, and democracy itself, and the work of this task force is vital to stemming the tide,” said Mary Anne Franks, Legislative & Tech Policy Director of the Cyber Civil Rights Initiative and Professor of Law at the University of Miami.

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