Gillibrand: We Don’t Take Sexual Assault Seriously In Congress

Phillip Stucky Contributor

Democratic New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand argued that lawmakers don’t take allegations of sexual assault seriously, during a Tuesday night CNN town hall event hosted by Erin Burnett.

“I believe deeply that we have to end sexual violence in this country,” Gillibrand asserted. “Because fundamentally, it goes to a very simple question: Do we value women? Unfortunately, there is a lot of evidence that we don’t. We don’t take sexual assault seriously on college campuses, we don’t take it seriously in the military, we don’t even take it seriously in places like Congress. So we have to address sexual harassment and sexual assault head-on.” (RELATED: 2020 Democratic Hopeful Kirsten Gillibrand Can’t Even Get Her Home Delegation To Back Her)

Gillibrand continued, saying, “I have sponsored legislation and led debates that dealt with how we talk about sexual assault on college campuses. A couple of easy reforms have a nationwide survey so that anyone who has suffered sexual violence can speak out and tell their story. Make sure we work with our law enforcement so that if a survivor does want to go to law enforcement, they are taken seriously.”

“Make sure you have better training and make sure that you have someone on campus that can take you through your options. Having that on-campus counselor to give you all the information and facts you need. Those four things alone would transform how we treat sexual assault survivors in our colleges. I would try to pass that bill right away. We already have bipartisan support of it. It is the kind of thing we can come together and get done,” she concluded.

Gillibrand recently went through an alleged sexual harassment scandal of her own, in which one of her aides came to her Senate office with a formal complaint about a senior staffer. The aide claimed that the office did nothing, and that when word of her complaint leaked, the senior staffer punished her for complaining. Gillibrand later defended her actions, arguing that her office conducted an investigation into the individual in question, but found nothing credible to the claims. Despite that, the staffer was later fired.

“We interviewed all current employees that had relevant information. We were able to substantiate derogatory comments and did not able to substantiate the sexual harassment, the sexual harassment claims did not rise to the level of sexual harassment. I told this employee at the time that she was loved, that we loved her. I deeply valued her, which is why we took her allegations immediately, investigated them immediately, and did a professional and thorough investigation,” Gillibrand said in March.