Congresswoman Jackie Speier Response to My Letter About Stanford Rape Case

Jackie Speier Letterhead

July 8, 2016
Dear Ms.  Mohr:
Thank you for contacting me to express your concern about the Stanford sexual assault case. I care deeply about this issue and firmly believe that our justice system must be better than this. People need to understand that rape is one of the most violent crimes that a person can commit; not, as Mr. Turner’s father said, “20 minutes of action.” You can view my speech on the House floor regarding the Brock Turner case at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pK4KaUrpNbo. I also hosted a Special Order Hour to honor the brave survivor, in which 18 other members and I read the survivor’s statement on the House floor. You can view that reading at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lXYeJ27ZGPc.
Every student deserves a safe educational environment free from harassment and sexual violence. Statistics show that one in five women will be victims of attempted or actual sexual assault during their time in college. More than 50% of these assaults occur in the ‘red zone’, the period of time between the start of the fall term and the week of Thanksgiving. Universities are further exacerbating the problem by creating a culture of fear of retaliation for survivors who wish to report their assault. The problem is widespread— nearly 200 colleges and universities are currently under federal investigation for violations under Title IX for mishandling sexual assault cases.
This issue is one of my top legislative priorities. I introduced H.R. 2680, the Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act. This bill requires the Department of Education to issue penalties for noncompliance with Title IX, increases penalties for violation the Clery Act, institutes biennial climate surveys, and increases transparency by providing more public data on the universities under investigation. It also creates an interagency Campus Sexual Violence Task Force and requires schools to provide clear statements of their sexual violence policies to all student groups, teams, and organizations. Finally, the bill creates a private right of action for students harmed by universities that fail to meet campus safety requirements. The HALT Act will help foster a safer campus culture where all students have the opportunity to thrive without fear of sexual assault or administration retaliation.
 Thank you again for taking the time to write to me about this issue. Constituent letters are an important part of my decision making process. If you would like more information on my work in the 14thcongressional district, you can visit my website, like my Facebook page, or follow me on Twitter. Through my website, you can send me opinions, request tours in DC, and get help on issues you might have with federal agencies. Please contact me in the future if I may be of assistance to you.
                                                                All the best,

Jackie Speier
Member of Congress

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Up Close and Personal with a Neighbor

I did not know Donna Morrow who lived down the street and was shocked when I read about her death and the arrest of her husband who had escaped to the Philippines.  I live in a beautiful upscale residential community close to Stanford University where it is impossible to imagine something like this happening to a neighbor.

The following four paragraphs were taken from The Almanac dated January 22, 2003.

“In an eight-page affidavit Sgt. Simpson filed in 1997 in order to get an arrest warrant for Mr. Morrow, he described Ms. Morrow as a woman who wanted to leave her abusive husband but was afraid to. She told friends and family that she was planning to get a divorce, and had hidden money in a bank account “to help her when she left Joe,” the affidavit said. That money was never touched after she disappeared, police said.

Witnesses told police that on more than one occasion, Mr. Morrow threatened to kill his wife if she ever tried to leave him, according to the affidavit. Ms. Morrow’s former lover told police that she had plans to leave Mr. Morrow, but feared it might cause him to “snap,” the affidavit said.

“At no time did Joe Morrow deny killing his wife. I believe that the murder of Donna Morrow was well thought out with deliberation and premeditation,” Sgt. Simpson said in the affidavit.

Testimony from the Morrows’ own 8-year-old daughter was also included in the affidavit. The girl told police she heard her mother screaming and her father yelling at her to shut up on the night Ms. Morrow disappeared. Then, she said, “the screaming eventually got quieter and quieter, and then stopped altogether.”

To read more click HERE.

What Can Each Us Do About Violence Against Women?

7/12/16 – Today, President Obama was in Dallas to honor the memory of the five police officers who were killed last week. Although no women were killed by the gunshots, it brings to mind the many women who are killed in intimate partner violence almost in silence from the communities that should be preventing more of these acts.

My blog and Pinterest board are one small attempt to raise public awareness through education and learning from victims’ experiences. We need to get to women before they become prey to perpetrators who intend harm: emotionally, verbally, physically and financially.

I hope you share my Pinterest board, “Women and Violence,” with others.

Much appreciation,

Harriet Mohr
Founder: Women and Violence Pinterest Board
Co-Founder: Haiti Jewish Refugee Legacy Project