On the Issue of Sexual Assault, Wendy Davis Draws Clear Distinction with Her Opponent

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Davis has been visiting cities across the state this week to speak about an issue where the contrast with her opponent couldn’t be more clear: advocacy on behalf of sexual assault survivors.

In an ad that went up this week, Davis pointed to a case that came before the Supreme Court while Greg Abbott was a member. Abbott sided against the victim, who had been assaulted by a salesman whose position was only possible because the company who hired him failed to do a routine background check. If they had, they would have discovered he was a sexual predator on probation.

Davis’ commitment to sexual assault survivors is clear. In 2011, she filed and passed a bill aimed at eliminating the backlog in rape kits – some of which had gone untested for over ten years. In Houston, a survivor whose rape kit went untested for 20 years, said:

Senator Wendy Davis listened to survivors, and then she fought for us. But when Greg Abbott had a chance to help, he sided against a rape survivor. Some of you may have seen the new advertisement about Abbott’s ruling in that case. As voters, it is our job to hold our elected officials accountable. This ad empowers me and survivors like me with the information we need to make the right choice in November. I see the clear stakes in this election, and I know that my vote can hold Greg Abbott accountable.

Davis continued to work on improving the rape kit processes in Texas in the 2013 session through bipartisan legislation that secured funding to allow the testing of backlogged rape kits to continue. She also passed a law to ensure that survivors of sexual assault can no longer be denied treatment at certain hospitals, which had been the practice prior to her legislation. Davis also expanded her work on rape kits to include a law that notifies survivors when the evidence that is collected from their assaults moves in the prosecutorial process.

At an event in Houston, Davis explained her commitment to this fight:

The fact that we would ask survivors to expose themselves in their most vulnerable state, to subject themselves to the grueling experience of collection of evidence of their sexual assault, and then turn around and throw their trauma and their courage on a shelf for months or years without a second thought is offensive to them and to everything we stand for. That law is bringing justice for countless survivors, and we’ve already seen its impact right here in Houston.  The HPD and the City of Houston have contracted a local forensic lab, and they’re erasing their backlog and testing evidence in new crimes immediately.As governor, I will continue to fight to empower rape survivors, eliminate the backlog of rape-kits, and fight for all hardworking Texans. Greg Abbott has repeatedly sided with insiders and against Texans – even when they’re the victims of a brutal rape.

If any Texans were still wondering where the key differences between Davis and Abbott lie, this most recent revelation can leave no doubt: on the issue of sexual assault survivors, Davis was and will continue to be a champion.


About Author

Genevieve Cato

Genevieve Cato is a feminist activist and a native Texan. While not writing for the Burnt Orange Report, she can be found working for NARAL Pro-Choice Texas, serving as a community member of the Communications Committee for the Lilith Fund for Reproductive Equity, and drinking copious amounts of pretentious local craft beers.

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