BRIDGEPORT, CT – “Blaming the victim of sexual assault is over,” said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, at the annual public policy breakfast Tuesday at The Center for Family Justice. “Nobody is going to blame her for what she wore, who she was with, how much she drank or where she went. The crime of sexual assault is a crime and we should all be taking a stand against it. At home. On our college campuses. In the military.”
Blumenthal was at The Center to accept an award for his work helping victims of domestic abuse and sexual assault become survivors. He will reintroduce legislation this year – which has strong bipartisan support not often found in Congress – to provide protection against sexual assault for women on college campuses. “Let’s face it, victims of sexual assault are most commonly women, and they should be encouraged to come forward and report the attack,” he said. “Sexual assault is staggeringly prevalent and stunningly unreported on college campuses, just as it is in homes where domestic violence occurs and in the military.”
The legislation will provide reforms so that victims can have faith that they will receive justice. “Victims will have confidential advisors who will give them advice on whether they want to pursue the disciplinary process on campus or go to prosecutors and the criminal justice system.”
Debra Greenwood, President and CEO of The Center, applauded Blumenthal: “He has conducted fifteen roundtables about sexual assault on our state’s college campuses, sessions that opened the dialogue about sexual assault and gave students, advocates and law enforcement a chance to be heard. We are so fortunate to have such a strong advocate for victim’s rights in our state.”
Greenwood noted that last fall The Center trained 1,000 freshman at Fairfield University on how to keep themselves safe on campus, with advice on how to prevent sexual assault. This training will be the model for future sessions at the University of Bridgeport and Sacred Heart University.
Blumenthal added: “We are so fortunate in Connecticut to have colleges that want to cooperate. Our colleges all came forward to discuss sexual assault when a lot of colleges and universities around the country said that they really don’t want to discuss the issue. They would rather deal with it quietly, and not think about it.”
Other speakers at the event included:
- Cathy Malloy, First Lady of Connecticut, who said that The Center for Family Justice, the first Family Justice Center in Connecticut, will be the model for other FJCs that will eventually be formed throughout the state.
- Mayor Bill Finch of Bridgeport said he that supports The Center for Family Justice because of how it will streamline the way victims will receive all the services they need to become survivors. “We all have family members who have been touched by this public health disease, and I firmly believe that The Center for Family Justice will help break the cycle of domestic violence in our area,” he said.
Karen Burnaska, former First Selectman of Monroe and now Coordinator, Transit for Connecticut, spoke about the impact of transportation on victims of domestic abuse and sexual
When The Center for Family Justice changed its name last year from The Center for Women and Families of Eastern Fairfield County, everyone knew that The Center needed a new Website to reflect its new direction. The new Website – www.CenterForFamilyJustice.org – was officially launched at the breakfast.
Synerge-marketing of Fairfield, was selected to redesign the Website, and the result is a site that clearly communicates The Center’s mission: That we are dedicated to breaking the cycle of abuse and violence – domestic, sexual and child – by providing services that create hope, restore lives and drive social change through education and community collaboration.
Project lead of Synerge, Randi Brawley, was honored for making the transition to the new Website seamless and creating a smart-looking, attractive site that provides quick and intuitive navigation in a user-friendly environment chockfull of useful information to help victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse. The site also:
- provides easy access to all events;
- features a separate section for donors about the ways they can help make a difference;
- gives Information about The Center’s community prevention and training sessions;
- includes a FAQ section answering questions and dispelling myths about domestic and sexual violence.
Board member Valerie Foster, co-chair of the PR/Marketing Committee, was honored for writing the site.