Sullivan, Gillibrand introduce 'Choose Respect Act' to combat domestic violence & sexual assault

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WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senators Dan Sullivan (R-AK) and Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) have introduced S. 1076, the Choose Respect Act. The bipartisan legislation is focused on spreading awareness and seeking to change the culture around sexual assault and domestic violence through a national advertising campaign. This bill is the first of what will be a three-part initiative focused on stemming sexual assault and domestic violence, and is a continuation of a similar initiative launched and championed by Senator Sullivan during his tenure as Alaska’s attorney general.

“Nearly three-in-ten women in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence or stalking by a partner—and the statistics are even more horrifying in Alaska,” said Senator Sullivan. “This is an issue that affects all of us – all races, all income levels, all ages, all across our country. It saps our creativity and our energy. It leaves deep, permanent scars across generations. Our country will never realize its full potential if we don’t stop this. If men don’t stop this. I’m optimistic that this bill will help change the culture of violence in our country, and I want to thank my colleague, Senator Gillibrand, for her advocacy on this important issue.”

“Sexual violence is pervasive throughout this country, and Congress has a responsibility to help combat these crimes. We all need to do much more to make sure our country is valuing and respecting women,” said Senator Gillibrand. “I am proud to join Senator Sullivan to introduce the bipartisan Choose Respect Act, which would help address the toxic culture that too often leads to the mistreatment of women, and I encourage all of my colleagues to join me in supporting this important legislation.”

BACKGROUND

National Ad Campaign through the Department of Justice and the Office of Violence Against Women:

• The bill directs the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) to fund and oversee a public service media campaign directed at young men called “Choose Respect.” The campaign will focus on changing the broader culture around the mistreatment of women, including domestic abuse, violence, stalking, harassment, etc.

• The campaign will include: supporting evidence-based prevention programs, encouraging victims to seek help, including through legal representation, and spreading awareness. The OVW will have creative control of the campaign, and may consult with advocacy groups, policy experts, and communications professionals in order to maximize effect.

CDC “Choose Respect” Reimplementation:

• In 2006, the CDC started a national initiative along with communities in 10 cities to create awareness through materials, videos, and PSAs, centered on the prevalence of physical dating violence and encouraging healthy relationships among high school students. This provision reauthorizes that program.

Day Designation:

• The bill designates October 1 (October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month) as “Choose Respect Day”.

Create a “Choose Respect” Semi-Postal Stamp:

• The stamp will promote awareness and fund anti-domestic violence programs, including the Ad Campaign and CDC Program.