Tips for Advocating for Domestic Violence & Sexual Assault Survivors and Programs

August Congressional Recess is Approaching and We All Need to Take Action!

Members of Congress are heading home to their districts for the August Recess – and now is a great time to reach out to your members and talk to them about the importance of domestic violence and sexual assault programs and services in your community, and the need for legislative responses that meet the needs of ALL survivors.

Throughout the month of August, the National Task Force will send out a weekly alert highlighting a particular area of legislation or issue that needs your support and advocacy, whether it’s gun violence prevention, addressing sexual assault in the military, reforming our immigration system, or preventing cuts to federal domestic violence and sexual assault programs.

See below for the first alert and watch this space for additional action items, messaging, and sample social media posts – all ways that you can make your voices heard on critical issues facing survivors, advocates, and programs! 

As we gear up for the months ahead, here are a few reminders for long-time advocates and important tips for newcomers on actions and resources that can help your in-district advocacy:

Contact your Members of Congress:

  • Not sure who your Members of Congress are or how to contact them?  Find your Representative’s phone number here.  Find your Senators’ phone numbers here
  • Find your Members’ Twitter handles here. You can also search for them on Facebook or find links to their Facebook/Twitter accounts through their websites.
  • Many Members will be out in the community throughout August at town halls and other local events. Find out where they’ll be by checking their website or calling their district offices. Approaching Members at events in your area is a great way to make sure they are aware of issues that matter to you.

Advocate with your Members of Congress:

  • If your Member has been supportive of legislation and programs that meet the needs of survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault, be sure to thank them!
  • Share stories about what you’ve seen in your community and why these issues matters to you. Statistics are powerful (check here for state-by-state statistics), but personal stories and anecdotes really help make the case.  Victims and survivors of DV/SA rarely get to talk to their Members of Congress so all of us need to be their voice and support system.
  • Ask for a commitment. If you’d like your Member of Congress to take a particular action on a piece of legislation, ask her/him directly or ask the staff person to get back to you with an answer about the Member’s position on your issue.
  • Members of Congress are increasingly using social media as a way to talk about issues with their constituents.  Tweet at your Members of Congress, share articles or stories with them on Facebook, and be creative about ways to engage with them.

#1 - Military Sexual Assault is currently a hot topic, including New York Times and Washington Post editorial opinions.  The National Task Force supports Senator Gillibrand’s efforts to add a version of her bill as an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act which will come up in September.  She has 44 Senate supporters and needs 7 more sponsors or vocal supporters to give her/our amendment a chance.

Congress goes home at the end of this week and members will not be able to add their names as sponsors once they’re gone so please call today.  And work with your local and state allies to meet with or go to places where your Senators will be in attendance and ask them to support Senator Gillibrand.  If you need more information click here, or or just google military sexual assault. 

Ask these Senator for their Sponsorship/Support:

#ALEXANDER, Lamar (R-TN) SD-455 4-4944

BARRASSO, John (R-WY) SD-307 4-6441

BAUCUS, Max (D-MT) SH-511 4-2651

BOOZMAN, John (R-AR) SH-320 4-4843

BROWN, Sherrod (D-OH) SH-713 4-2315

#BURR, Richard (R-NC) SR-217 4-3154

CHIESA, Jeff (R-NJ) SR-C1 4-3224

#COATS, Daniel (R-IN) SR-493 4-5623

COBURN, Tom (R-OK) SR-172 4-5754

CORNYN, John (R-TX) SH-517 4-2934

*CRAPO, Mike (R-ID) SD-239 4-6142

DURBIN, Richard J. (D-IL) SH-711 4-2152

ENZI, Michael B. (R-WY) SR-379A 4-3424

HATCH, Orrin G. (R-UT) SH-104 4-5251

*HELLER, Dean (R-NV) SH-324 4-6244

#ISAKSON, Johnny (R-GA) SR-131 4-3643

JOHNSON, Ron (R-WI) SH-328 4-5323

LANDRIEU, Mary L. (D-LA) SH-703 4-5824

LEE, Mike (R-UT) SH-316 4-5444

McCONNELL, Mitch (R-KY) SR-317 4-2541

*MORAN, Jerry (R-KS) SR-361A 4-6521

MURRAY, Patty (D-WA) SR-154 4-2621

MURPHY, Christopher (D-CT) SH-303 4-4041

#PORTMAN, Rob (R-OH) SR-448 4-3353

REID, Harry (D-NV) SH-522 4-3542

RISCH, James E. (R-ID) SR-483 4-2752

ROBERTS, Pat (R-KS) SH-109 4-4774

RUBIO, Marco (R-FL) SR-284 4-3041

#SHELBY, Richard C. (R-AL) SR-304 4-5744

TESTER, Jon (D-MT) SH-706 4-2644

#TOOMEY, Patrick J. (R-PA) SR-248 4-4254

WARNER, Mark R. (D-VA) SR-475 4-2023

WHITEHOUSE, Sheldon (D-RI) SH-530 4-2921



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