Kuster and Bipartisan Group of Colleagues Honor Emily Doe on House Floor by Sharing Personal Experiences
Washington, DC, June 21, 2016
Last night, Congresswoman Annie Kuster (NH-02) hosted a Special Order, a series of speeches on the House floor, to recognize the bravery of the Stanford rape case’s “Emily Doe” and to condemn acts of sexual assault that she and countless women experience. A bipartisan group of colleagues joined Kuster in sharing their own personal stories about sexual assault. The Members stood up and told their stories in order to symbolically stand by Emily Doe, the 23-year-old rape victim whose story went viral after her abuser received a mere six-month sentence in county jail for assaulting her while she was unconscious.
“Tonight, my colleagues and I rose to show our support for Emily Doe to ensure that her voice was heard. Every woman, in every corner of the country, has endured uncomfortable situations that never should have happened, and Emily Doe – with her open letter detailing her attack and her bravery in court – gave us all the power to come forward, share our own stories and those of our loved ones, and take a stand against these heinous actions. Tonight, we are all Emily Doe, and tonight, we urge our fellow members of Congress to take action now to put an end to these types of stories, which we hear over and over again – not just from college students, but from young professionals, mothers, daughters, teachers, and even Members of Congress. Tonight, we are all Emily Doe,” said Kuster during last night’s Special Order.
Last week, Congresswoman Kuster 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 night, 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. The fact that all of these Members have stories to share demonstrates that Emily Doe is not alone, and steps must be taken to stop the victimization of women and other individuals from abusers.
Congresswoman Kuster has long advocated for measures to increase safety and curb sexual violence against men and women. She helped introduce the bipartisan Campus Accountability and Safety Act, which requires colleges that receive federal funds to strengthen prevention, education, and reporting measures regarding campus sexual assault. Kuster hosted a campus assault roundtable discussion in Concord to hear directly from students, administrators, and community leaders about how to best to address the issue moving forward. Additionally, as a member of the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee, the Congresswoman has also worked extensively on legislation to help prevent sexual assault in the military; a member of the Military Sexual Assault Prevention Caucus, Kuster has introduced legislation along with Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) to provide travel benefits to victims of military sexual assault so they can access the medical services they need to recover. And in 2013, Kuster helped successfully pass into law bipartisan legislation to enhance whistleblower protections for service members who report instances of sexual assault in the military.