Save this content for laterSave this content on your device for later, even while offline Sign in with FacebookSign in with your Facebook account Close

COLUMN: A previously hidden voters bloc

By: RACHEL STOVALL
October 25, 2017 Updated: October 25, 2017 at 4:35 am
0
photo -

#MeToo

If you are a user of social media, likely you have seen this hashtag on Facebook.

If you do not use social media, I'd like to give you some background on the phrase and the nationwide conversation that it has opened.

Back on Oct. 15, Alyssa Milano, an actress that you may know from her television roles in "Who's the Boss", or "Charmed", tweeted a short and simple message.

Alyssa invited women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted to use "MeToo" as a status.

No one could have predicted the response. Three hundred fifty thousand Instagram posts have people talking. Five hundred thousand tweets and growing, the phrase "MeToo" is being used widely to give victims a voice.

According to Facebook, last week 12 million users have used "MeToo" to discuss the subject of sexual assault or harassment.

Those numbers only reflect people who would admit to being victims. We have no idea how many people have been victimized and keep it a secret.

Many discussing sexual assault and harassment are women, although men are definitely a part of the conversation.

Some men are identifying as victims. What victims have in common is very vocal support from all who hate sexual harassment and assault.

Do you know who is not talking? Political leaders!

Neither political party has a clearly articulated platform to address sexual harassment or assault. Neither party has fully addressed the need of increased law enforcement. Neither party is active in getting support in place for victims, regardless of gender.

The closest that either party comes to having a national platform on this subject are some 2016 positions on Title IX and the way that it relates to campus rape. Surely none of us here are naive enough to believe that campuses are the only places where sexual harassment or rape happen. Both parties must do better.

I am not naive, so I am not asking leaders to do this because it is the right thing to do. I am asking political leaders to articulate clear platforms to voters about sexual harassment and assault because it is smart.

I point you to the estimates of The National Sexual Violence Resource Center. They estimate that 1 in 5 women are victims of rape. They also estimate that 1 in 71 victims are men.

Among children, one in four girls are victims of sexual abuse. One in six boys are victims as well. And these victims have extended families who want their loved ones to receive justice. Others unconnected to victims want legal reform as well.

The "MeToo" campaign may have alerted both parties to a new voting bloc. A voting bloc is a group of voters that are strongly motivated by a specific concern. A bloc will vote for candidates who support their concern regardless of the party of the candidate. Both hidden and revealed victims and their supporters may be the biggest voting bloc that our country has ever seen.

The party that wants to win will come down hard on perpetrators. Articulating a platform that empowers law enforcement will win voters.

Only 3 percent of rapists are actually convicted. If you read the stories of victims, you will understand why this must change.

Finally, the party that wants to win will articulate platforms that advocate support for victims. This can include care for victims and sexual violence prevention programs.

The government need not reinvent the wheel. The nonprofit sector can partner with political leaders to help drive awareness of existing programs.

In Colorado we have programs like:

Talking Trees - an empowerment organization that creates resources and support for adult survivors of childhood sexual abuse and incest.

The Wings Foundation - exists to provide arts events which empower sexual abuse survivors and advocate for prevention.

Nationally, The National Sexual assault Telephone Hotline is a safe confidential service with phone, online services that give clients ways to connect with a variety of resources including legal help.

If you are a victim - please seek help.

Supporters: Let your representatives know that you want them to support sexual assault and harassment victims with platforms, policies, laws and programs that help.

-

Rachel Stovall is a longtime community advocate and organizer. Also a fundraising, media and marketing consultant, Rachel is most known for singing with her dance band Phat Daddy and the Phat Horn Doctors.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Incognito Mode Your browser is in Incognito mode

You vanished!

We welcome you to read all of our stories by signing into your account. If you don't have a subscription, please subscribe today for daily award winning journalism.

Register to the Colorado Springs Gazette
Subscribe to the Colorado Springs Gazette

It appears that you value local journalism. Thank you.

Subscribe today for unlimited digital access with 50% fewer ads for a faster browsing experience.

Already a Subscriber? LOGIN HERE

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Wake up with today's top stories in your inbox

Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?
 
This is your last FREE article for the month
This is your last FREE article for the month

Subscribe now and enjoy Unlimited Digital Access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
You have reached your article limit for the month
You have reached your article limit for the month

We hope that you've enjoyed your complimentary access to Gazette.com

Only 99 cents for Unlimited Digital Access for 1 month
Then $2.31/week, billed monthly, cancel anytime
Already a print subscriber?
Already a digital subscriber?

 
articles remaining
×
Thank you for your interest in local journalism.
Gain unlimited access, 50% fewer ads and a faster browsing experience.