The United States is failing half of its citizens. There are four stories in the news this week highlighting the epidemic of violence against women in America:
“The bottom line is, I have no tolerance for this,” Obama told reporters after he was asked about several recent military scandals, including the weekend arrest of the Air Force’s chief for sexual assault prevention on charges that he groped and attacked a woman in Northern Virginia. “If we find out somebody’s engaging in this stuff, they’ve got to be held accountable, prosecuted, stripped of their positions, court-martialed, fired, dishonorably discharged — period.”
Strong words but what will be the actions behind them? Why did he wait until he was asked to say something? Why doesn’t he take more of a lead on stopping the violence against women in the USA? When will he link up the stories and speak to the epidemic? What is his plan to end the violence against women in America?
Today, I got an email from Rep Jackie Speier asking me to sign a petition. Here it is:
Dear San Francisco MoveOn member,
Sexual violence in the U.S. military is a crisis. The Pentagon estimates that in 2010, there were 19,000 sexual assaults in the armed forces.
Making matters worse, each branch of the armed forces has its own judicial system, and it’s currently legal for base commanders to overturn a conviction at Aviano Air Force Base.
The STOP (Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention) Act takes the prosecution, reporting, oversight, investigation, and victim care of sexual assaults out of the normal military chain of command—which has proven grossly ineffective—and places jurisdiction in an autonomous Sexual Assault Oversight and Response Office.
That’s why I started a petition to the United States Congress, which says:
I stand with Congresswoman Jackie Speier in support of the Sexual Assault Training Oversight and Prevention Act (STOP Act) to end military rape.
–Congresswoman Jackie Speier
I am so happy that Speier is calling a crisis and crisis and taking the the initiative to do something about it.
It make sense that it Speier would be a leader here. I first heard about Speier years ago on an issue that may seem trivial. Speier noticed that when women went to the the dry cleaner, they were charged more than men to get the same garment cleaned. Speier called this out for what it was: gender discrimination. She spoke to how this institutionalized sexism, is one of the many ways women are manipulated into shelling out huge amounts of money for their appearance.
Fascinated, I found out more about Speier and she became one of my heroes. Here’s just part of her bio today:
Jackie Speier (pronounced SPEAR) has lived her entire life inside California’s 14th Congressional District and in April 2008 was elected to represent the district in Congress…
Nationally, Jackie is best known for her passionate and compelling speeches on the House floor, such as her spontaneous response to a congressional colleague who trivialized women who – like her – have had medically necessary second trimester abortions. She routinely speaks on the House floor about men and women in our armed forces who have been raped or sexually assaulted while in the line of duty. She has also taken a lead role in working with the veterans organizations to improve delivery of VA benefits to Bay Area veterans. In 2012 Newsweek named Jackie to its list of 150 “fearless women” in the world.
Locally, Jackie is known as a fighter. In 1978, as a staff member to then-Congressman Leo J. Ryan, she was shot five times while trying to rescue constituents from the People’s Temple compound in Jonestown, Guyana – an attack that left Congressman Ryan and six others dead and was followed by the mass murder-suicide of more than 900 Temple followers. Jackie tenaciously hung onto life for 23 hours on a dusty airstrip before aid arrived. It is this fighting spirit that defines her to her constituents at home…
Jackie was the first California state legislator to give birth while in office and, during her time in Sacramento, she authored more than 300 bills signed into law by both Republican and Democratic governors. These bills included the nation’s strongest financial privacy law and measures that expanded women’s access to reproductive health services and vastly improved collection of delinquent child support payments. She also led high-profile investigations of fraudulent and wasteful government spending and prison corruption, ultimately saving millions of taxpayer dollars…
I know you have a lot to sign and a lot to share, but please sign this petition. If you are disgusted and appalled by the violence against women in America, this is an action you can take to help stop it. This is a beginning. I believe that Jackie Speier will continue to be a leader on this issue and not let it go until the violence against women is over.