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House Supports National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month

On April 28, the House passed, by voice vote, H. Con. Res. 104, a resolution supporting National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month. The resolution, sponsored by Rep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), commends “survivors, volunteers, and professionals who combat sexual assault” and “recommends national and community organizations, businesses in the private sector, colleges and universities, and the media to promote, through National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, awareness of sexual violence and strategies to decrease the incidence of sexual assault.” The Senate passed H. Con. Res. 104, by unanimous consent, on April 30.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) stated, “Even as we shine a spotlight on this issue throughout the month of April, it is important to remember that preventing sexual assault must be top priority every month of the year. A 2000 study by the National Institute of Justice and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that 18 percent of women in the United States have been raped in their lifetimes, yet we know that only about six percent of women who have been raped will ever see their attacker spend a day in jail…It is vitally important that we continue these efforts to reduce the DNA backlog crisis in our nation’s crime labs. Equally imperative are efforts to support the Violence Against Women Act [P.L. 103-322] by fully funding the organizations, shelters, and counseling centers, which provide the crucial victim services which help women escape dangerous situations and begin new lives free from violence and fear.” 

Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX) said, “Every two-and-a-half minutes a person is sexually assaulted in the United States. Sadly, one in six women and one in 33 men have been victims of rape or attempted rape. Two-thirds of these assaults are committed by someone that is actually known by the victim, and yet, only about 40 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported to law enforcement authorities…With education and community support, it is my hope that more victims will pursue prosecution of their attackers by reporting their assaults to law enforcement. Once victims take this first critical step, it’s up to lawmakers and law enforcement to ensure that these violent offenders are put away…In this sterile environment of the halls of Congress, sometimes we forget that sexual assault is a crime that is committed against people in this country, a crime that most of them never really get over. That is why this legislation is important and that we, as Members of Congress, do our duty and be the advocates for those victims that have silent voices throughout this country.” 

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