Senate Resolution 71- A resolution declaring April 2023 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania
SPONSORED BY SENATORS CHRISTINE TARTAGLIONE, KATIE MUTH, MARIA COLLETT, LINDSEY WILLIAMS, LISA BOSCOLA, AMANDA CAPPELLETTI, JUDY SCHWANK, CAROLYN COMITTA
SENATE RESOLUTION 12 − Conduct a study on the impact of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking on Commonwealth students
Sponsored by Senator Vincent Hughes
SENATE BILL 385 − Require that individuals, who are survivors of domestic violence at the time of an offense, have that history taken into account during sentencing and be provided with shorter sentences or alternative sentences
Sponsored by Senator Amanda Cappelletti
SENATE BILL 388 − Require schools to establish specific policies regarding dating violence, including reporting procedures for students, parents, legal guardians, or third parties
SPONSORED BY SENATOR JUDY SCHWANK
SENATE BILL 293 − Improve Pennsylvania’s policies preventing sexual assault and abuse, and improve all relationships by requiring consent education in school curriculum.
SPONSORED BY SENATOR TIM KEARNEY
April is Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Sexual Assault Awareness Month (SAAM) brings awareness to the many ways both women and men can experience assault, harassment, or abuse at work, at home, online, or in their communities.
Sexual assault is a pervasive problem that affects millions, but everyone can help to build a world that promotes respect, boundaries, and safety. Education and prevention efforts can protect millions more from experiencing crimes that often cause pain, trauma, and shame.
This year’s SAAM theme is Drawing Connections: Prevention Demands Equity. The National Sexual Violence Resource Center encourages all individuals, communities, organizations, and institutions to build racial equity and respect to stop sexual assault and harrassment at every level.
We urge all Pennsylvanians to recognize how we can prevent sexual violence before it even starts. If you are just now learning about the issue and want to make your loved ones and communities safer, act now and encourage others to do the same.
National Sexual Assault Help Line
GET HELP 24/7
Understanding Sexual Violence
Sexual Violence Happens in Every Community
How you understand and talk about it matters. Become an agent for change by using your voice to shift how others think about and react to this critical issue.
What is sexual violence?
- Sexual violence is any type of unwanted sexual contact – including sexual assault and rape.
- This can include words and actions like sexual harassment, catcalling, and nonconsensual sharing of private images such as “revenge porn.”
Sexual violence impacts everyone
- Nearly 1 in 5 women and 1 in 67 men in the U.S. have experienced rape or attempted rape some time in their lives (Smith et al., 2017).
- Anyone can experience sexual violence, including children, teens, adults, and seniors.
Victims often know the person who Sexually assaulted them
- People who sexually abuse can be family members, friends, romantic partners, or other trusted individuals.
- They may use coercion, manipulation, threats, or force to commit sexual violence.
Victims are never to blame
- It doesn’t matter what someone was wearing, how they were acting, if they were drinking, or what type of relationship they had with the person who abused them
Sexual assault is often not reported
- A person may not report what happened for many reasons, including:
- Concern they won’t be believed
- Fear of retaliation
- Distrust of law enforcement
- Shame or fear of being blamed
- Pressure from others
healing and justice look different for every survivor
- A survivor may or may not choose to move forward with the criminal justice system.
- Healing is an ongoing process. Everyone heals in their own time and their own way.
You can support survivors
- Chances are you know someone who has experienced sexual violence even if they haven’t told you.
- They are listening to how you talk about the issue, and hearing that you understand and believe survivors may help them feel safe.
Embrace your voice
- Sexual violence thrives when it is not taken seriously and victim blaming goes unchecked.
- Your voice is essential in setting the record straight on sexual violence.
- Learn more from the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services.
- Guide to Victim’s Assistance
- Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape
Retrieved from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Injury Prevention and Control: https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/pdf/NISVS-StateReportBook.pdf and The National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS): 2010-2012 state report.
2023-2024 Session Legislation
Senate Bill 293 − Age-Appropriate Consent Education
SB 293 − This legislation would require consent education in school curriculum. Beginning in elementary school, we need to teach that consent is a fundamental value in human relationships. The approach would of course be age-appropriate, for example, in elementary schools, the importance of asking permission from a classmate, whether in working together in the classroom or playing together on the playground, would be stressed.
Sponsored by Senator Tim Kearney
Senate Bill 388− Dating and Sexual Violence Prevention Education
Senate Bill 388 – This legislation would require schools to establish specific policies regarding dating violence, including reporting procedures for students, parents, legal guardians, or third parties; disciplinary procedures and penalties for students perpetrating dating violence against other students; and information regarding the Protection from Abuse law. Additionally, schools and districts would be required to post these policies on the school or district website, in every classroom where practical, and in at least one prominent location within a school.
Sponsored by Senator Schwank
Senate Bill 385 − Alternative Sentences for Domestic Violence Survivors
Senate Bill 385 – This legislation would create alternative sentences for domestic violence survivors. Every year, a number of domestic violence survivors are coerced into criminal activity by their abusers, who threaten their family, friends, loved ones, and even family pets. With more than 12 million men and women experiencing rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner, and with nearly 60 percent of women in prison having had a history of physical or sexual abuse before incarceration, something must be done to create more just outcomes for those affected by domestic violence and abuse.
Sponsored by Senator Amanda Cappelletti
Co-Sponsorship Memo − Abolishing the Statute of Limitations for ALL Survivors of Sexual Assault
This legislation would eliminate the criminal and civil statute of limitation (SOL) for sexual abuse, assault and misconduct for all survivors, regardless of age. Our legislation will also open a 2-year civil window to revive previously expired SOL claims with a 6-month delay and prohibit non-disclosure agreements that would otherwise prevent an adult survivor from reporting.
Sponsored by Senators Katie Muth, Maria Collett, Tim Kearney, Steve Santarsiero, Lindsey Williams, and Wayne Fontana
Senate Resolution 12 − Task Force on secondary and postsecondary campus sexual assault and relationship violence
Senate Resolution 12 – A Resolution that would direct the Joint State Government Commission to conduct a study on the impact of sexual harassment, sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and stalking on Commonwealth students enrolled in grades six through twelve and postsecondary institutions and issue a report of its findings and recommendations to the Governor and General Assembly.
Sponsor: Senator Vincent Hughes
Senate Resolution 71 − Sexual Assault Awareness Month
Senate Resolution 71 – A Resolution that would declare April 2023 as “Sexual Assault Awareness Month” in Pennsylvania. Sexual assault has continued to be a serious social and public health issue in the United States. Everyday across the United States, thousands of people, regardless of cultural and economic backgrounds, are affected by rape and sexual assault.
Sponsor: Senators Christine Tartaglione, Katie Muth, Maria Collett, Lindsey Williams, Lisa Boscola, Amanda Cappelletti, Judy Schwank, Carolyn Comitta