Every time I drive home late at night from work, I’m haunted by the statistics that one in nine Florida women are victims of rape. Sadly less than 40 percent of those rapes are reported.
April was National Sexual Assault Awareness Month. During this nationally recognized period, women raise awareness, provide education, and promote conversation around sexual violence prevention.
To commemorate the month, Governor Scott and Senator Rubio struck to eliminate programs designed to protect women from rape and families from domestic abuse.
- Rick Scott vetoed $1.5 million from the state's budget for rape crisis prevention centers — and when pressed, his office responded that "nobody was able to make it clear to [the governor] why rape crisis centers needed the new funding.” Perhaps Scott just wasn’t listening.
- On the heels of Gov. Scott's veto, Senator Marco Rubio voted against re-authorizing the Violence Against Women Act — a federal law that protects women and families from domestic abuse and sex crimes. All 31 of the “no” votes came from Republican men. At least Florida has one senator – Senator Bill Nelson – who stands up for women.
It's a tragedy that the GOP in Florida is willing to put politics ahead of the safety of our sisters, our mothers, and our children. These attacks on programs that protect women’s health and safety mark a new low in the ongoing GOP War on Women.
With sex crimes in Florida continuing to rise, women will understand that the GOP War on Women is more than just political rhetoric. The phrase reflects real actions by our elected representatives -- actions that have consequences for thousands of women.
Women will understand, and women will vote.