Sexual Assault

Sexual Assault

  • Recent immigration policies, including the separation and detention of families entering at the U.S.-Mexico border and the Attorney General’s decision to deny asylum to victims of domestic violence, reinforce existing inequalities that disproportionately impact immigrant women.

  • Jennifer Becker is a former sex crimes and child abuse prosecutor and the deputy legal director at Legal Momentum. She says Monday morning’s arraignment is “definitely a big first step for the victims” but cautions that the road to justice could be long.

  • Hundreds of women have now publicly accused powerful men in business, government and entertainment of sexual misconduct, and thousands joined the #MeToo social media movement to share stories of sexual harassment or abuse.

    “There now is a platform and national conversation, and more women and girls feel safe talking about the harassment and violence they’ve been subjected to,” said Jennifer Becker, senior staff attorney at Legal Momentum, a U.S.-based non-profit that works on legal rights for women.

  • Jennifer Becker, deputy legal director for Legal Momentum, a New York-based nonprofit women’s legal defense group, said it's hard to buy Brafman's suggestion that the charges were suddenly sprung on the defense given that both sides negotiated the terms of his surrender.

    "They didn’t just show up at his home at dawn and take him into custody," Becker said. "I think that given one of these complaining witnesses has also spoken publicly, unlike a lot of other criminal prosecutions, Mr. Weinstein has had a lot of notice that he was being investigated."

  • While Lynn Hecht Schafran, an expert in gender issues affecting courts and the senior vice president of Legal Momentum’s Women’s Legal Defense and Education Fund in New York, says she’s “very pleased” with the jury’s decision, she isn’t as optimistic about a legal sea change.

    “What concerns me is that we’ve not set another barrier that victims of these kinds of crimes may have to leap over,” Hecht Schafran tells PEOPLE. “How will people react to situations where there was only one victim, as there was in the prior trial?”

  • Me Too image from Twitter

  •  This morning, the U.S. Department of Education withdrew its 2011 guidance on responding to sexual violence in schools and replaced it with interim guidance that is less protective for survivors. It is especially troubling that this new guidance was issued just days after the Department of Education received thousands of comments urging it to uphold the 2011 guidance and its protections for student victims of sexual violence.

  • Legal Momentum's Staff Attorney Caitlin McCartney-Gerber appeared on CTV's Your Morning show on Thursday, September 14, 2017, to talk about how shelters can prevent sexual violence in the wake of natural disasters.

    "After a natural disaster, an evacuation centre can mean women and children are exposed to another danger: sexual violence

    After Hurricane Katrina in 2005, dozens of women, and several men, reported sexual assaults at crowded evacuation sites and shelters. But at least one legal expert says much that can be done to prevent these attacks.

  • Yesterday Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos announced that the Department of Education will commence a “notice and comment” process to formulate guidance regarding schools’ responsibilities in handling sexual harassment and sexual violence and made clear her intention to replace the Obama Administration-era 2011 guidance which has provided protection to sexual assault survivors and clarity for schools to respond to incidents of sexual harassment and violence. 

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