RAINN Experts Gear up for 2017 with Bipartisan Supporters

With the 115th Congress underway, and a new administration taking office, lawmakers from both sides of the aisle are gearing up to address sexual violence and strengthen laws that hold perpetrators accountable for these crimes. “We’ve already had discussions with House and Senate leaders, who have promised that tackling sexual violence will be a Congressional priority,” says Rebecca O’Connor, RAINN’s vice president of public policy.

Screengrab of RAINN petition to the next president of the United States

RAINN has been supporting survivors of sexual violence for more than 24 years, and the national conversation on this issue reinforces that support for survivors and improvements to the criminal justice system are critical as ever.

Longtime champions on Capitol Hill and in states throughout the country are working witih RAINN to uphold laws that protect survivors, expand access to critical resources—such as funding to audit and test backlogged rape kits—and strengthen the criminal justice response to these crimes.

RAINN has a long history of working with a bipartisan teams of lawmakers to achieve these goals. In the last year alone RAINN has:

  • Led a coalition of more than 100 national, state, and local groups to secure passage of omnibus anticrime legislation, the Justice for All Reauthorization Act of 2016, with support from survivors and leaders in forensic science, prosecution, medicine, and law enforcement
  • Stood alongside decision makers and allies to support work to combat sexual violence on America's college campuses
  • Facilitated and informed work to address and end the nation's rape kit backlog and ensure that all survivors will have access to the support and services they need and deserve

"The nation is talking about ways to address to sexual violence, and we are ready to continue our work with policymakers in Washington DC, in state capitols, and beyond,” said  O’Connor. “It is imperative that we keep these issues—and the public safety interests and survivors relying on this work—front-of-mind. We will continue to champion policies that support survivors and hold more perpetrators of sexual violence accountable."

This year, RAINN is also delivering a petition, signed by more than 18,300 people from across the country who want Congress and administration to make ending sexual violence a priority. “When we launched #MyNameOurVoice petition in October, we wanted to remind the presidential candidates that sexual violence is an issue without partisanship—it affects people of every political value, race, age, and gender identity,” said Jodi Omear, RAINN’s vice president of communications. “Three months and thousands of signatures later, that message holds true. This issue is a national priority.”

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