Legal Momentum News Brief - Week of November 12, 2018

November 16, 2018

#GivingTuesday is Fast Approaching

Giving Tuesday is on November 27th. Take part in this global day of giving by donating to Legal Momentum to support our award-winning programs and leadership as advocates for women’s equality. Your contributions will help fight gender bias in the courts, empower women to identify and respond to sexual abuse and violence, provide women with the knowledge they need to defend themselves against workplace discrimination and more. 

Legal Momentum has been a leader in the fight for women’s equality and empowerment since 1970. Just in the past year, we’ve answered more than 170 calls to our Helpline from all 50 states. We’ve provided trainings for judges in Georgia and Pennsylvania to confront gender bias in the courts and ensure fair adjudication for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence. We’ve provided workshops for over 100 young women of color to foster leadership skills and empower these women to recognize, resist, and respond to sexual abuse and violence. Your support and generosity will help us continue and strengthen our efforts to promote equality and empowerment for all women.

Legal Momentum Hosts 2019 Women of Achievement Kick-Off Event

On October 29th, Legal Momentum Board Member Esha Bandyopadhyay of Fish & Richardson P.C. hosted the 2019 Women of Achievement Awards Dinner Kick-Off Event. The evening featured an inspiring conversation between Loria Yeadon, Legal Momentum Board Member and First Vice Chair, and Digene Farrar, a childhood sexual abuse survivor and the brave author of the book "Not My Secret to Keep." Digene’s story serves as a testament to the importance of believing and supporting survivors of sexual abuse and assault. 

During the chat, Digene shared her riveting story of the sexual abuse she endured as a child. The evening also dispelled some of the myths surrounding sexual abuse, such as the belief that most sexual abuse happens by strangers. In fact, 92% of victims know their sexual abuser. What’s more, one in three girls in the U.S. will be a victim of sexual abuse in their lifetime. Legal Momentum stands steadfast in its mission to advocate for the rights of women and girls, especially against sexual assault, the most pervasive threat to women and girls. To read Digene’s story in its entirety please visit: https://www.amazon.com/Not-My-Secret-Keep-Childhood/dp/0990459705.

This event was a kickoff for Legal Momentum’s annual Women of Achievement Awards Dinner, held in San Francisco to connect with our amazing supporters on the West Coast. The Women of Achievement Dinner is an inspirational event that celebrates the accomplishment of talented, hardworking women and highlights the great work of Legal Momentum to Litigate, Educate, Advocate and Defend on behalf of women and girls. This year’s Women of Achievement dinner will be held on Thursday, March 14, 2019.  We hope you can join us!  For more information and to register, please visit: https://legalmomentum.org/WOA2019.

LM Attorneys Educate Students and Advocates

Last week, LM’s Deputy Legal Director Jennifer Becker and Senior Attorney for Economic Empowerment Seher Khawaja took LM’s work out into the world. Jennifer used her Title IX expertise to discuss consent with college students, and Seher presented to victim advocates on workplace protections for victims of gender-based violence. It’s this kind of work that needs your support!  

On November 6, Jennifer spoke via webcam to Florida State University Law students about providing legal representation to women who have suffered trauma. The next day, Jennifer hosted a productive, co-ed conversation about what consent means for 35 undergraduates at Queensborough Community College. Later that week, in Glens Falls, NY, Seher presented “The Legal Landscape: Workplace Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault, and Stalking” as part of a one-day training for victim advocates from across New York State. Seher’s training was hosted by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and advocates said they were grateful to learn about these important protections, many of which they did not know about prior to Seher’s presentation.

VAWA Reauthorization: We Need to Do It Right!

As Congress returns for the lame duck session, they face a number of outstanding issues – one of which is the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is vital to the safety of victims, survivors, and their communities; it cannot simply be checked off of Congress’s to-do list by changing the dates for existing funding, ignoring the cries of countless survivors and direct service providers to do more. Contact your Members of Congress, submit an op-ed or letter-to-the editor to your local newspaper, ask leaders in your community to do the same, and use the attached social media toolkit to raise awareness!  

With VAWA due for reauthorization, survivors and their communities need Congress to take meaningful action. The awareness of the scope of sexual violence, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking occurring in our nation has never been greater. Congress must pass a bipartisan VAWA reauthorization that invests in increased evidence-based prevention, enhances survivors’ access to safety and justice, and maintains critical protections for vulnerable communities.

Tell your Congress members: 1) VAWA is vital to protecting community safety, preventing violence, serving victims, and holding abusers accountable. 2) A VAWA that rolls back important protections for vulnerable communities or that fails to make important improvements identified by victims and survivors is unacceptable. Simply changing the dates on the existing funding will not address the needs of survivors. 3) VAWA has always been, and must always be, bipartisan. Contact your Senators and Representative by phone or online. Remember: despite the elections, we still have the same Members of Congress until Congress goes home in December.