By Jess Davidson, EROC Executive Director, and Crisanta Duran, Colorado Speaker of the House
The #MeToo Movement has been around for over a decade, and now, when our #MeToo stories are finally being heard, Colorado state has the opportunity to listen and respond to our stories if Governor Polis signs SB19-007 into law, a bill that will ensure protections for student survivors in Colorado.
Colorado is our home and it will always be our priority. We are at a critical moment: Colorado state has the opportunity to show it is ready to harness its power to make tangible changes in the lives of survivors.
This is a critical moment for Colorado to show up. We’ve seen and felt the harmful effects as the Trump administration has repeatedly cast survivors aside and erased survivor rights. This administration fears survivors’ strength. They fear our resilience. They fear that we will not give up fighting for our rights and for a world that gives survivors the power to heal, love, and succeed. In the face of the administration's attacks on survivors, states have the responsibility to show up. Colorado has the opportunity to be courageous in the face of an administration that silences survivors. Signing SB19-007 into law is just the beginning.
Over 34 percent of students who have experienced sexual assault dropout of college, which is higher than the overall dropout rate for college students (Mengo & Black, 2015). The Trump administration is on the brink of releasing new Title IX guidelines that have the potential to further silence survivors and sweep sexual assault under the rug. This is the time to ensure that Colorado students’ access to education is not ripped away from them when the state that we love refuses to hear their calls for support and survivor justice. While some argue that Colorado should wait until this federal Title IX regulation is released to respond, the harm that inaction will cause survivors is unfathomable. Action must be taken now.
We have the tools we need to implement policy that protects survivors’ rights here in Colorado. We are ready to see Governor Polis make this commitment. We want to see a commitment to survivors, to students, and to Coloradans. We want to see a commitment that Colorado will be a leader of a movement that supports survivors of sexual violence instead of harming it or existing as a silent bystander while survivors fight to protect their civil rights. We want to see a commitment to take action and change the system.
With the signing of this bill, survivors will have the resources and opportunity to heal, grow, and thrive. Their access to education will be protected and their civil rights protections upheld. This bill addresses survivor safety and safety in Colorado schools and communities. The fight for survivors’ rights has been happening for generations, but has reached new heights these past few years, and we’re not stopping now. Survivors’ voices will not be silenced; we will continue to raise our voices until we are heard. It is time for Colorado to be a leader and to show its courage for the fight for survivors’ rights by signing SB19-007 into law.