At a Cedar Falls town hall U.S. Sen. Joni Ernst called herself a survivor. Unfortunately, she is one of 321,500 survivors throughout the country. Violence and abuse knows no boundaries; it affects all walks of life, even senators.
As a fellow woman, I call on Ernst to listen to, believe and advocate for victims. As a Republican member of leadership, she has the ability to take charge and propose clean legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which offers several layers of protection for survivors. Every day, three women are killed by intimate partners; clean legislation to reauthorize VAWA is long overdue.
Quality, affordable health care for survivors is critical. I ask Ernst to review her recently proposed legislation to defund Planned Parenthood and divert funds to community health clinics. Because of the nature of sexual assault, many victims are scared, embarrassed and ashamed. Victims, especially younger women and men, seek help from Planned Parenthood because it is an affordable option for STI and pregnancy testing. For many survivors this is their only option.
I am asking Ernst to listen, believe and advocate for victims and survivors. Please keep in place all services that provide support to these individuals.