Wednesday, January 13, 2016

ACTION ALERT: "Yes Means Yes" Legislation

We're writing to share a legislative update concerning gender-based violence prevention in Michigan.

The Bills: Bills have been introduced into the Michigan House (H.B. 4903) and Senate (S.B. 512) that would require information regarding what would constitute consent to be included in sex education curriculum. This would teach students that consent must be an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It clarifies that silence or lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, consent can be revoked at any time, and the existence of a dating relationship or of past sexual relations does not imply consent. Including this information in sex education is necessary and important. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified sexual violence as a serious public health problem and recommends prevention begin at an early age while behavior is modifiable and before students start their first dating relationships.

Call to Action: H.B. 4903 was introduced by Representative Tom Cochran (D–Mason) and S.B. 512 was introduced by Senator Curtis Hertel, Jr. (D–East Lansing/Meridian Twp.) in September 2015. The bills were co-sponsored by over 35 other legislators but are still currently in the House and Senate Committee on Education. It is important that those on the Committee on Education, especially Committee Chairs Representative Amanda Price and Senator Phil Pavlov, hear from us. We need as many constituents as possible to ask them to support this legislation. If you have any questions please contact Michele Sedlak at oakmacnow@gmail.com.

Legislators to Call and Email

House Education Committee

Amanda Price (R-Park Township), Committee Chair - AmandaPrice@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0838 

Daniela Garcia (R-Holland,) Majority Vice-Chair - DanielaGarcia@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0830 

Mike Callton (R-Nashville) - MikeCallton@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0842 

Tom Hooker (R-Byron Center) - ThomasHooker@house.mi.gov (517)-373-2277 

Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto), Co-sponsor H.B. 4903 - LisaLyons@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0846 

Ed McBroom (R-Vulcan) - EdMcBroom@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0156 

Patrick Somerville (R-New Boston) - PatSomerville@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0855 

Ken Yonker (R-Caledonia) - KenYonker@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0840 

Tim Kelly (R-Saginaw Twp) - TimKelly@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0837 

Lee Chatfield (R-Levering) - LeeChatfield@house.mi.gov (517)-373-2629 

Jim Tedder (R-Waterford Twp.) - JimTedder@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0615 

Adam Zemke (D-Ann Arbor), Minority V-Chair, Co-sponsor H.B. 4903 - adamzemke@house.mi.gov (517)-373-1792

Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) - harveysantana@house.mi.gov (517)-373-6990 

Winnie Brinks (D-Grand Rapids), Co-Sponsor of H.B. 4903 - winniebrinks@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0822 

Andy Schor (D-Lansing), Co-Sponsor of H.B. 4903 - andyschor@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0826 

Stephanie Chang (D-Detroit), Co-Sponsor of H.B. 4903 - stephaniechang@house.mi.gov (517)-373-0823 

Christine Greig (D-Farmington Hills), Co-Sponsor of H.B. 4903 - christinegreig@house.mi.gov (517)-373-1793 

   
 Senate Education Committee

Phil Pavlov (R-St. Clair Township), Committee Chair  - http://www.senatorphilpavlov.com/contact/ (517)-373-7708


Darwin L Booher (R-Evart) - SenDBooher@senate.michigan.gov (517)-373-1725 

Patrick Colbeck (R-Canton) - SenPColbeck@senate.michigan.gov (517)-373-7350 

David Knezek (D-Drbn Hts), Min. V-Chair, Co-Spsr of S.B. 512 - sendknezek@senate.michigan.gov (855)-347-8005


Talking Points for Calls
  • I am calling to ask you to support H.B. 4903/S.B. 512, which is currently in the Committee on Education. This bill would require information regarding what would constitute consent to be included as part of sex education curriculum. This would teach students that consent must be an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It clarifies that silence or lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, consent can be revoked at any time, and the existence of a dating relationship or of past sexual relations does not imply consent.(1,2)
  • Including this information in sex education is important and necessary. A CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) study found 10.5% of high school girls and 4.2% of high school boys have been forced to have sexual intercourse.(3)
  • 48% of students grades 7-12 experienced sexual harassment at school during the school year. (AAUW,4)
  • The CDC has identified sexual violence as a serious public health problem and recommends that sexual violence prevention begin at an early age before adolescents have started their first dating relationships, while behavior is modifiable. The CDC supports the widespread adoption of teen dating violence prevention programs.(5)
  • Sexual violence costs the U.S. $127 billion per year, the highest yearly cost of any crime. This includes $7.5 billion in medical care/ambulance costs, mental health care, police service, social/victims services, and property loss/damage; and $119 billion in cost to quality of life. (National Institute of Justice, 6) 
  • According to the CDC Foundation, violence against women and children is a serious global health problem.(7) Sexual violence is everyone's issue, and we need Michigan to be a leader in taking on this epidemic! 


References:
  1. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/billintroduced/House/pdf/2015-HIB-4903.pdf
  2. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2015-SIB-0512.pdf
  3. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6304.pdf
  4. http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Crossing-the-Line-Sexual-Harassment-at-School.pdf
  5. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6308.pdf
  6. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/victcost.pdf
  7. http://www.cdcfoundation.org/FY2012/Violence-Prevention


Sample Email Letter to Senator/Representative

Subject: Protect Our Children from Sexual Violence: Support H.B. 4903 and S.B. 512.

Dear [Legislator's Name]:

I am writing to urge you to support H.B. 4903 and S.B. 512, which are currently in the Committee on Education. This legislation which would require information regarding what would constitute consent to be included as part of sex education curriculum. This would teach students that consent must be an affirmative, conscious and voluntary agreement to engage in sexual activity. It clarifies that silence or lack of protest or resistance does not mean consent, consent can be revoked at any time, and the existence of a dating relationship or of past sexual relations does not imply consent.(1,2) Including this information in sex education is important and necessary.

Our children are not safe because there is a culture of silence surrounding the issue of sexual violence in the United States. No one wants to believe that sexual violence could happen to our children, but the reality is that this is occurring at a rate of epidemic proportions. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation, violence against women and children is a global epidemic.(3)

  • A CDC study found 10.5% of high school girls and 4.2% of high school boys have been forced to have sexual intercourse.(4)
  • 48% of students grades 7-12 experienced sexual harassment at school during the school year. (AAUW,5)
  • The CDC has identified sexual violence as a serious public health problem , and recommends that sexual violence prevention begin at an early age before adolescents have started their first dating relationships, while behavior is modifiable. The CDC supports the widespread adoption of teen dating violence prevention programs.(6) 
  • Sexual violence costs the U.S. $127 billion per year, the highest yearly cost of any crime. This includes $7.5 billion in medical care/ambulance costs, mental health care, police service, social/victims services, and property loss/damage; and $119 billion in cost to quality of life. (National Institute of Justice, 7).  

Sexual violence is at epidemic levels, and we need to institute prevention efforts like we would for any other public health epidemic. The CDC recommends that sexual violence prevention begin at an early age before adolescents have started their first dating relationships, and supports the widespread adoption of teen dating violence prevention programs. To make this type of education accessible for every student, we will need a law to implement it. Sexual violence is everyone's issue, and we need Michigan to be a leader in taking on this epidemic!  For this reason, I strongly urge you to support H.B. 4903 and S.B. 512.

Sincerely,

[Your Name]

[Address]



References:
  1. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/billintroduced/House/pdf/2015-HIB-4903.pdf
  2. http://www.legislature.mi.gov/documents/2015-2016/billintroduced/Senate/pdf/2015-SIB-0512.pdf
  3. http://www.cdcfoundation.org/FY2012/Violence-Prevention
  4. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6304.pdf
  5. http://www.aauw.org/files/2013/02/Crossing-the-Line-Sexual-Harassment-at-School.pdf
  6. http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/pdf/ss/ss6308.pdf
  7. https://www.ncjrs.gov/pdffiles/victcost.pdf

Written by: Michele Sedlak, Oakland/Macomb MI NOW Vice President

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