Over the course of the next 90 days we will be working tirelessly in Annapolis to #SpeakUpSpeakOut for survivors. Now -- over a year out from the #MeToo movement -- we have seen some great victories, like the convictions of Larry Nassar and Bill Cosby, and the clemency ruling for Cyntoia Brown. But we still have a long way to go to address rape culture and protect sexual assault survivors. Join us, as we begin the 2019 Legislative Session!
We will #SpeakUpSpeakOut to secure sexual harassment laws that protect EVERYONE. This past year the National Women’s Law Center found that in every industry Black women filed the highest number of sexual harassment charges with the EEOC (to see the full report click here). This session MCASA is fighting to prevent sexual harassment among all women, but especially women of color and low-income women, by working to remove current barriers to remedies for sexual harassment. We want for companies with fewer than 15 employees to be subject to labor laws that deal with harassment and we want to expand the short deadline for filing claims.
MCASA will #SpeakUpSpeakOut for rape survivors by securing access to HIV prophylaxis for ALL survivors. Maryland refuses reimbursement for HIV prophylaxis beyond the first dose of medication. This is a horrendous disservice to rape survivors, so we will fight to get victims the necessary preventative medical treatment. This session we also will #SpeakUpSpeakOut for survivors of human trafficking, by pushing to vacate convictions for crimes associated with trafficking and further modernize and improve Maryland’s Human Trafficking statute. We will also advocate for mandatory testing of rape kits, protecting victim privacy, repealing the vestiges of the marital rape exemption, and for expanding the current legal definition of child pornography.
Take a look at our full legislative agenda on our website. We expect for the agenda to grow in the coming weeks. Please sign up here to stay up to date with both our legislative agenda and other advocacy work.
If YOU are inspired to help make a difference for survivors in Maryland, make your voice heard by contacting your legislators and urging them to support these bills. To find your legislator, please click here. You can also become a member of MCASA or make a donation and #FundTheFight to help support our efforts in Annapolis as we advocate for survivor rights.
For our Winter issue of Frontline, we cover a new study examining the risk factors of adolescent peer-to-peer sexual violence in the Prevention Corner column. The College Consortium feature explains the undeniable role of sexual violence in high-school and collegiate hazing. In our Safety Sync column, we feature an article reprinted from the National Network to End Domestic Violence outlining considerations for when choosing sexual violence awareness and education apps. We also discuss how revisions to the Transgender Offender Manual puts Transgender inmates at risk in our Underserved Populations column.
We also respond to the anticipated changes to Title IX policy in Proposed Title IX Rules: Step in the Wrong Direction for Survivors. Finally, the program spotlight feature highlights the outstanding work of the Victim Assistance & Sexual Assault Program (VASAP) and the services they provide to sexual assault survivors in Montgomery County.
Start off your year by helping make Maryland a better place to live. Stand with us as we advocate for sexual assault survivors throughout the 2019 Legislative Session and remember #SpeakUpSpeakOut by contacting your legislator! Best wishes for 2019!
Lisae C. Jordan, Esq.
Executive Director & Counsel
Maryland Coalition Against Sexual Assault