Our cultural understanding of sexual violence has grown exponentially in the last decade. College students brought national attention to the epidemic rates of sexual violence on campuses by using Title IX to address their school’s poor response. And the #MeToo movement brought discussions of sexual violence into the mainstream, making “victim blaming” a part of our common lexicon. Time and again we have witnessed how power dynamics allow men to perpetuate sexual violence, causing women to remain silent.
Allowing an employer to refuse birth control coverage for their employees if they themselves are morally or religiously opposed to birth control is sexist — plain and simple.
Late last week, a federal appeals court said the Trump Administration’s Title X family planning rule can take effect. While largely targeting Planned Parenthood, Trump’s rule also favors Crisis Pregnancy Centers (CPCs). The Connecticut General Assembly had an opportunity to protect Connecticut women from the misleading practices of these fake women’s health clinics, but the Senate failed to vote on the bill during the final weeks of the 2019 legislative session.
Sexual violence, domestic violence and human trafficking impact thousands of Connecticut residents each year. And yet, many of our state laws remain antiquated, while other protections are simply non-existent. Culturally, we have come far in our understanding of gender-based violence, but our policies must keep pace.
As women enter elected office, share their experiences via #MeToo, and take to the streets, we are changing a patriarchal culture in which sexual violence and harassment have run rampant. Culture change is important, but it must be accompanied by changes in law. Women hold more power than ever before in U.S. history. Now, we must use this power to uncover and destroy harmful policies rooted in patriarchy to take us beyond #MeToo to #NeverAgain. This is why one of my first acts as a freshman legislator was to co-sponsor S.B. 3, An Act Combating Sexual Assault and Sexual Harassment.