#MeToo Helps Victims Feel Confident About Speaking Out
Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director, New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault, talks with Steve Adubato about the ways the #MeToo movement has helped so many feel more comfortable speaking out about their experiences, and how it has really changed the way we portray sexual violence. Teffenhart also shares some current advocacy efforts that NJCASA is working on to prevent and handle sexual assault in New Jersey.
"Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault. Good to see you Patricia. Thank you. Thank you for having me. We're doing this program in the Spring of 2018. The Me Too movement... where are we? And what is the opportunity before us? That's a great question, and in fact, we ask ourselves, "What's the opportunity?" here pretty much regularly in our organization. Any time high-profile people are talking about an issue that's so hard to understand or has lacked nuance throughout history, it's good. It amplifies the voice of people who have historically either not been heard or haven't felt as if they had a voice. The issue is...? Or is it multiple issues? It is the issue of sexual violence which runs... Sexual violence? Yes. Go ahead. Which runs a large spectrum everything from sexual harassment to actual sexual assault and rape, and that's what the Me Too movement is doing, actually it's giving voice to actions and behaviors all along this spectrum, as opposed to what's normally discussed as, you know, just sexual assault and rape. All of these actions have impact for people. How does it translate potentially, into real action? Policy action? Action in the workplace? Changes in behavior? Real change? How's does it translate? You can see it happening already. I mean... You see it? Yes. What do you see? The New Jersey Statehouse yesterday, there were multiple committees that had bills relevant to this issue happening concurrently, I could only attend one committee at a time, so having to have other people submit slips in support or not in support of certain pieces of legislation, that was happening. To do what kinds of things? Yeah. So we were actually in committee yesterday on behalf of the Campus Sexual Assault Task Force, and... The Campus Sexual Assault Task Force, which is? We created... legislatively created the Sexual Assault Task Force under the previous administration that brought together a cohort of diverse professionals to talk about this issue, to help inform policy direction, with a new session, with new policymakers. The Assembly Higher Education Committee invited us to come in and brief the new committee members on our report and our findings. So campus sexual assault is something people have been talking about for a long time, I think now what people are starting to understand is it's not just campus sexual assault that needs our attention. What are we doing to prevent sexual assaults from happening before college and addressing it after college..."