Pennsylvania Commission for Women Releases Statement in Support of the New It’s On Us Legislation

Harrisburg capitolCredit: Commonwealth Media Services

HARRISBURG, PA — The Pennsylvania Commission for Women released the following statement in support of the It’s On Us legislative package announced by Governor Tom Wolf. Legislators, students and national advocates joined the governor to call for further protections from sexual abuse and campus sexual assaults.

“The Pennsylvania Commission for Women is grateful for this new legislation that will help mitigate sexual misconduct on campus. This legislation has the power to protect so many young women and students who are at risk,” said Pennsylvania Commission for Women Executive Director, Moriah Hathaway. “We are proud to support the It’s On US PA campaign and encourage everyone to take the pledge. We will continue to work with the Pennsylvania Coalition Against Rape, the Governor’s Office and the General Assembly to advocate for women and girls in Pennsylvania.”

“The Pennsylvania Commission for Women has proudly stood alongside Governor Wolf since 2016 when he first rolled out the It’s On Us PA initiative,” said Pennsylvania Commission for Women Chair, Randi Teplitz.  “Because Governor Wolf has prioritized this issue during his administration, we have witnessed a culture shift in awareness and attitudes surrounding sexual violence and have received a strong message that sexual harassment of any kind will not be tolerated.  We are proud to continue to stand with Governor Wolf as he persists in his fight for the resources that our colleges and universities need to best protect their students.”

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“For those of us who work in rape crisis and domestic violence centers, especially near college campuses, the beginning of a new school year is a time of concern. We see first-hand the rise in sexual assaults as students return to campus and our staff and volunteers work tirelessly to be available to provide advocacy and support for victims. Governor Wolf’s long-time and consistent support of survivors of sexual and relationship violence, seen clearly in his leadership in implementing the It’s On Us projects throughout the Commonwealth, has been critical to our ability to provide the services that victims need. The legislation introduced today goes even further as we all work to create a climate that believes survivors, creates communities of support for survivors, and begins to lay the groundwork to prevent sexual and relationship violence before they happen. Ending sexual and relationship violence takes all of us working at multiple levels – at the policy level in Harrisburg, within local schools and universities, to the staff and volunteers of local programs who answer hotlines and work with victims every day.  We are grateful to have the leadership of Governor Wolf and state legislators as we continue this work,” said Commissioner and Executive Director of Centre Safe, Anne Ard.

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“The It’s On Us legislation promotes prevention through a variety of means, which is incredibly important. Sexual victimization of all kinds is often a factor in long-lasting behavioral health difficulties – PTSD, anxiety, depression, substance use and suicidality. Preventing victimization is promoting health and well-being, and it’s possible when all of us have the information and tools to do so,” said Commissioner and Deputy Secretary of the Office of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, Kristen Houser.

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