Congresswoman Jackie Speier is working on several pieces of legislation to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment.
The announcement was made Thursday morning on the House floor after Speier read an excerpt from an emotional 7,000-word statement from a sexual assault victim at Stanford University.
“Our system must become better than this. Our educational system must become better than this,” Speier said. “People must understand that rape is one of the most violent crimes a person can commit.”
Speier began her speech describing the scene of the Stanford crime and asking for a change in mindset when dealing with sexual assault cases.
A jury in March found Brock Turner guilty of three felony sexual assault counts for the January 2015 attack at Stanford, which was interrupted by two graduate students who said they saw him assaulting a partially clothed woman behind a trash bin. Turner tried to flee, but the students tackled and pinned him down until police arrived and arrested him.
Turner was sentenced to six months in county jail and is expected to only serve three.
“Why? Because the judge said a longer sentence would have a ‘severe impact’ on Turner. What a travesty,” Speier said.
Speier then proceeded to read excerpts from the survivor’s statement.
“Regretting drinking is not the same as regretting sexual assault. We were both drunk,” Speier read aloud. “The difference is I did not take off your pants and underwear, touch you inappropriately and run away. That’s the difference. How fast Brock swims does not lessen the severity of what happened to me, and should not lessen the severity of his punishment.”
One of the projects Speier is working on to help survivors of sexual assault and harassment include HALT, a Campus Sexual Violence Act. She hopes to strengthen prevention and enforcement on campuses.
Several people have shown their support for the sexual assault survivor in the Stanford case.
Lena Dunham and the cast of television show "Girls" dedicated a video to the Stanford survivor where they discussed the issues around sexual assault cases. Together they stood in support and solidarity for those who have been assaulted.
“I dedicate this to the brave survivor in the Stanford case who has given so much to change the conversation,” Dunham tweeted Wednesday morning.
The cast of "Girls" were not the only ones to express support.
On Thursday morning, Vice President Joe Biden wrote an open letter to the Stanford survivor calling her a "courageous young woman."
“The statistics on college sexual assault haven’t gone down in the past two decades,” Biden wrote. “It’s obscene, and it’s a failure that lies at all our feet.”