Just as I was remarking on Teresa Tanzi’s courage and how it led to an important victory for women and girls, comes news that the episode is bearing more fruit in terms of raising awareness and taking action.
Adding to the momentum of Teresa Tanzi and other state legislators, Time Magazine is spotlighting 7 female legislators from across the country who are collectively voicing their concerns about sexual harassment, and calling for states to lead the way with creating safer, harassment-free environments for all people.
The piece was cowritten by Rep. Gilda Cobb-Hunter, South Carolina; Rep. Daneya Esgar, Colorado; Assemblywoman Cristina Garcia, California; Sen. Sara Gelser, Oregon; Rep. Renitta Shannon, Georgia; Rep. Teresa Tanzi, Rhode Island; and Rep. Litesa Wallace, Illinois.
The #MeToo movement on social media has awakened many Americans to the reality that sexual violence and harassment are prevalent in all corners of the country and take many different forms. Sometimes, harassment looks like an unwanted grope on a street corner. Sometimes, it looks like a boss making uncomfortable demands, or a friend who doesn’t listen when you say “no.” It looks like the fear, anger and shame felt for years afterward by those who are targeted. While millions of women responded #MeToo, we know sexual violence and harassment happens in all communities. We know that transgender individuals suffer at alarming rates, and that men and boys are victimized, too.
[…] We see it. We live it. We power through it. Every day. And we are saying enough. That’s why we have spoken out, sponsored legislation and demanded change. We need change in our state houses, in our schools and on our campuses, on our streets, and in our workplaces. And big change starts with the states.
This collective action is a great example of how women at every level can collaborate and leverage their political power, encouraging more citizen activism. It would be great to see this coalition grow into the hundreds — all legislators working to end gender-based violence.