Many people have asked me over the years how to get involved with the movement to end sexual assault, domestic violence, and child abuse.
I’ve answered that essential question “What can I do?” in many ways. I’ve told people that they should do what they can, that their contributions can be as individual as they are. They should educate themselves and learn about the issues. If they have resources, write a check to one of the many organizations across the country that do this work. If they have time, volunteer at a shelter or rape crisis center. If they have young people in their lives, model healthy and respectful relationships. If they have a voice, speak about these issues. Speak about them again and again. If they have ears, and compassion, listen to a survivor tell her or his story, or simply be the one person in her or his life who responds to them without judgment. I urge people to never, ever underestimate the power they have to change the course of a survivor’s life.
My answers come down to this: Don’t be a bystander.
As the 2016 election nears, I cannot urge strongly enough: Be involved. Vote.
As for where I stand, I’m with her. I stand with Hillary, enthusiastically and with all conviction.
I can’t think of a more succinct rallying cry for the anti-violence movement than Hillary’s campaign slogan: Stronger together. We must indeed all work together to dismantle the deeply entrenched societal attitudes that have helped perpetuate this violence for so long, attitudes that have found such a dismaying spokesman during this election cycle.
The challenges we face as a nation in bringing an end to this violence are formidable. We need a President—and an administration—who will not only keep these issues at the forefront of domestic and international policy, but also will hold out a vision for a future free from these crimes. Whether it is arguing for change in how campuses address the epidemic of sexual assault, drawing attention to the use of rape as a weapon of war, or advocating for the criminal justice system to do all that it can to ensure victims of sexual assault have full access to all the tools at law enforcement’s disposal, including the mandatory testing of all rape kits, Hillary has a vision and a plan for action. And after a lifetime dedicated to working for the rights of women and girls, her vision and her plan are informed, hard-won, and comprehensive.
The job of carrying the bold focus and commitment of the current administration forward—the progress on eliminating the U.S. backlog of untested rape kits; the first-ever White House advisor on violence against women; and the revision of the archaic, decades-old definition of rape to expand the kinds of offenses that constitute the crime—will require determination, tenacity, poise, strength, intelligence, and a fierce will to fight for what is good. Hillary has it all, and then some.
I cannot urge you strongly enough to stand with Hillary. Stand with me as I stand with her, as we all stand together, as people, as women and men, united in our conviction that we can be the country that leads the world in bringing this violence to an end.
And yes, Hillary, in case you were wondering, this makes you the “Law & Order” candidate.