Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center

Zonta International is a global organization of individuals dedicated to empowering women worldwide through service and advocacy. The Zonta USA Advocacy Action Center is a tool for our members in the United States and other individuals who share our commitment to gender equality to take action to improve the lives of women and girls. With your help, we can make a difference. In addition to the actions below, click here to support our joint efforts with UNICEF USA to end child marriage in the United States.

Strengthen prevention efforts, hold perpetrators accountable
In the United States, 26% of undergraduate women and 7% of undergraduate men will experience rape or sexual assault on campus. And nearly 40% of survivors who report sexual violence to their schools experience a substantial disruption to their education, including dropping out.

The bipartisan Hold Accountable and Lend Transparency (HALT) on Campus Sexual Violence Act (H.R. 4898) will strengthen prevention efforts and the enforcement of laws to eradicate the epidemic of campus sexual violence and hold perpetrators accountable.

Specifically, the bill will:

  • Institute biennial climate surveys on student experiences with domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking.
  • Create an interagency task force to increase coordination between agencies and enhance prevention of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, sexual harassment and stalking in education.
  • Give the U.S. Department of Education the authority to levy fines for noncompliance with civil rights requirements under its authority, including Title IX.
  • Increase penalties for violating the Clery Act.
  • Create a private right of action for students harmed by institutions that fail to meet campus safety requirements under the Clery Act.
  • Require public disclosure of institutions under investigation, the sanctions (if any) or findings issued pursuant to such investigations, and a copy of program reviews and resolution agreements entered into between higher education institutions and the Department of Education and the Department of Justice under Title IX and the Clery Act.
  • Require public disclosure of a list of institutions that have requested to be exempt from Title IX.
  • Expand institutional requirements for notifying and publicly posting students’ legal rights and institutions’ procedures once an incident has been reported.

“Students and parents shouldn’t have to factor the danger of sexual assault into their college preparation,” said Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA), co-chair of the Democratic Women’s Caucus and the Bipartisan Task Force to End Sexual Violence. “Institutions of higher education cannot be allowed to sweep these crimes under the rug or blame and shame survivors.”

The bipartisan legislation is supported by End Rape on Campus, Know Your IX, Girls, Inc., National Women’s Law Center, American Association of University Women (AAUW) and National Alliance to End Sexual Violence.

The HALT on Campus Sexual Violence Act was introduced in the House of Representatives by Speier and Reps. Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA) and Annie Kuster (D-NH) in July. Please use our pre-drafted letter to urge your representative to co-sponsor and support H.R. 4898. If they have already sponsored or co-sponsored the bill, you can send a message of thanks.

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