Doug Jones’ victory is a win for women everywhere — but it’s just the beginning of women having their say.
Last night, alleged sexual predator Roy Moore became the first Republican candidate to lose an election for an Alabama Senate seat in 25 years.
At a time when so many of us were beginning to feel helpless and hopeless, this is a truly extraordinary result. Women all over America are finally being heard — and I’m so encouraged by the bravery of the women who have spoken up, and the thousands of voters, and thousands of volunteers, who made this victory possible.
But make no mistake: It shouldn’t take several credible reports of pedophilia for us to take down a politician because of how they treat women.
We need a zero-tolerance attitude towards sexual harassment and assault — in all facets of our society, and at all levels, but especially in our politics. Our elected leaders, after all, don’t just write and pass legislation affecting millions of lives, including those of women; they also serve as an example to our children of what we value as a society. We need to make clear to the leaders of the future that touching a woman without her consent is an unforgivable offense. No matter how long ago it happened. No matter the circumstances. If our leaders don’t respect women in their own lives, then we certainly can’t count on them to make policy that will uphold women’s dignity and rights.
And while defeating Roy Moore is an excellent start, it’s pretty obvious we have a long way to go on this. So many women have been systematically silenced, and feel like they don’t have the support they need to come forward. And let’s not forget, a man who stands accused of sexual harassment and sexual assault is sitting in the Oval Office.
That’s why we need more women in Congress, so we can serve as a voice for those who have had theirs taken away.
We women didn’t need the #metoo moment to know that sexual harassment in the workplace was a problem and that, all too often, powerful men use their power to disrespect, coerce, and abuse us. We have been experiencing it for as long as we’ve been working. Imagine how much more we could do to prevent these problems if we had more women in positions of decision-making power.
We’d make it harder for domestic abusers to own firearms, so we could prevent assaults from turning into deadly and tragic events — including mass shootings.
We’d protect young women on college campuses and in our armed forces, so they could receive a quality education and serve our country, without having their safety violated.
We’d implement stronger procedures for dealing with sexual harassment among elected officials, so we could hold our leaders accountable.
And we’d ensure that domestic and care workers, who often don’t have institutions to report abuse to, have the support that they need.
This all starts with electing more women across the country. Plain and simple. Because let’s be clear: The only way we can change the way power is wielded in this country, is to change the face of power in this country.
If elected to serve in Congress, I will work day and night towards transforming these visions into real, concrete policies that help solve this. This issue is incredibly personal to me.
Since I started running for office, the comments made about my appearance, about how I should look sexier to get more male votes, about how I should even wear a bikini because more men will vote for me that way, have not been not surprising — but they have been infuriating. I’ve even encountered people calling me “honey” or “sweetie” or “baby” when I’m trying to tell them my ideas on serious policy issues. Make no mistake: These types of comments, these subtleties of sexism that undermine women’s credibility and worth, are pervasive in every professional field and area of our society. So many women candidates before me have had to deal with this scourge, and that’s what is motivating women of all ages — including me — to stand up and say enough is enough.
I signed the #MeTooNatSec letter because I know how important it is to believe women who work in the national security community who have experienced sexual harassment and assault. I’m committed to creating a Democratic Party that stands as a positive example to the nation and the world. And I’m ready to combat sexual offenders head-on — especially those who work in the Oval Office.
But I can’t do it alone. So I hope you’ll support my campaign — and the campaigns of progressive candidates all across the country.
In America, the standard has to be higher than pedophilia, sexual assault, and domestic abuse. At a bare minimum, every candidate who vies for higher office has to see and treat women as equal members of our society.
That’s what we’re fighting for — but it’s not just a fight we have to win in our friends’ and neighbors’ hearts and minds. It’s a fight we’ll need to win at the ballot box in 2018.
Men who don’t respect women have held power in this country for too long. And it’s time for us to grab it back.