While the Capitol Hill debate over gun control has dominated headlines since the Orlando shooting, it’s hardly the only issue on lawmakers’ minds. The light sentence Stanford swimmer Brock Turner received for raping an unconscious woman has also struck a chord, especially with Rep. Ann McLane Kuster, D-N.H., who took to the floor Tuesday night to share her own experience with sexual assault.
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We return to the U.S. Capitol now, but for a different form of speaking out.
The light sentencing of a Stanford University swimmer for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman sparked outage across the country and in Congress.
The story prompted New Hampshire Congresswoman Ann McLane Kuster to share her own experience with sexual assault during a speech on the House floor Tuesday night.
REP. ANN MCLANE KUSTER (D), New Hampshire: I was an 18-year-old student. I was going to a dance. The dance was at a fraternity, and I intended to enjoy the evening with my friends.
We danced. We listened to music. We enjoyed the evening, and we enjoyed the party, until one young man assaulted me in a crude and insulting way, and I ran, alone, into the cold dark night.
I have never forgotten that night. I was filled with shame, regret, humiliation, while he was egged on by everyone at that party standing by.
Several years later, I was working as a legislative assistant right here on Capitol Hill, and I was assaulted again, this time by a distinguished guest of the United States Congress. I was 23 years old, and as Judge Poe referenced tonight, I didn't say a word to anyone.
And, in fact, until I wrote these words to share with you tonight, I had never told anyone this story. My family didn't know, my husband my children, my friends.
I tell these stories tonight on the floor of the United States Congress not because they are remarkable or unique. Sadly, I tell these stories because they are all too common, and, tonight, we will not be silent anymore.
Tonight, we stand together, Republicans and Democrats, mothers and sisters, from across the country to take a stand for liberty and justice for all.
Congresswoman Kuster also called for more accountability and education about sexual assault on college campuses and in communities.