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In a statement, the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault described Maher as an “innovative leader” in the field of combating campus-based violence.
“Jeff has a demonstrated history of partnering with students to make campuses safer and improve institutional responses to violence and harassment. His willingness to truly listen to the difficult reality of sexual assault is our best hope of making St. Paul’s a safer campus,” said Lyn Schollett, the coalition’s executive director.
“We can all play a role in preventing these devastating actions of violence by educating ourselves on the warning signs of abuse, learning more about local support services in our area, and believing and supporting the survivors in our lives,” Lightfoot said. “We can help to create safer communities. We encourage everyone to reach out to local crisis center to speak with an advocate to learn more about how they can support a loved one and learn more about how they can safely intervene when they recognize an unhealthy situation.”
Labrie loses bid to reduce sentence for sex assault of classmate, must report to jail day after Christmas
A spokesman for the state’s leading anti-domestic violence group praised Smukler’s ruling.
“We’re pleased to see that Owen Labrie’s attempt to avoid accountability for sexually assaulting a minor was denied,” said Amanda Grady Sexton with the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “Labrie’s continuous efforts to evade jail time demonstrates a clear lack of understanding of the seriousness of sexual assault, and has further shown the incredible lengths that predators will go to when refusing to accept ‘no’ for an answer.”
But the proposed bill — still in draft stages — drew swift criticism from the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, which said the law already is used judiciously and called it a backstop against inappropriate sexual advances at any age level.
“We oppose any legislation that would prohibit prosecutors from being able to make these vital distinctions,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs for the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence.
No rule prohibits a juror from serving on a trial for a crime he or she has personally endured. (Amanda Grady Sexton, director of public affairs at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence, told me that, if a jury was meant to represent one’s peers, the prevalence of sexual assault was a relevant fact. “If you take away people who have had a sexual assault in their life, you certainly don’t have a jury of your peers. Because your peers have been sexually assaulted.”) A requirement is simply that each juror be “fair and impartial.” In the view of Vartanian and Cherniske, both jurors still were; some vaguely phrased queries had simply confused them. The pair withheld out of misunderstanding, not dishonesty. This carried no suggestion of bias.
The New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence emphasized the importance of companies taking a serious look at their working environments.
“It is critical that organizations and institutions take allegations of harassment and assault with the utmost seriousness, and swiftly take action to ensure their work environment is safe and healthy for all employees. Many victims of workplace harassment do not come forward out of fear of retaliation or losing their job. In order to encourage reporting and truly create a positive and professional culture, leaders must confront problematic behavior when it’s brought to their attention, and workplaces must prioritize the prevention of, and response to, harassment,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, the coalition’s director of public affairs.
She added that workplaces of all sizes should contact their local crisis center for more information about local resources, in-service training opportunities, and best practices around addressing the problems.
“We’re deeply concerned that the proposed Title IX regulations, if enacted, would deter survivors from coming forward, allow schools to excuse sexual violence, and create unsafe learning environments on our campuses,” said Amanda Grady Sexton, Director of Public Affairs, the NH Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence. “We’re incredibly grateful to Senator Hassan, Congresswoman Kuster, and the multidisciplinary roundtable participants for joining us in this critical discussion. Sexual assault is already among the most underreported crimes and we cannot afford to take steps backwards. We are committed to continuing to work with elected officials, victims/survivors, professionals working in our schools, and advocates to prevent the weakening of Title IX.”
Proposed rule changes on campus sexual assault come under fire from Sununu, congressional delegation
Sununu echoed many of the same concerns raised at a roundtable hosted at the Concord offices of the N.H. Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in Concord and attended by U.S. Sen. Maggie Hassan and Rep. Ann McLane Kuster.
They were joined by assault survivors, advocates, researchers and representatives of universities and campuses from across the state.
Victims’ rights advocates – including leaders of the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic & Sexual Violence, who hosted Monday’s discussion – say the changes will discourage survivors from reporting abuse.
“Coming forward in my experience was difficult enough,” said Harmony Reid, who survived an assault years ago while studying at Plymouth State University. The current proposal will only make that process harder, she said.
“I am extremely disappointed to think 40 years after I was in school that there could be a generation of students ... that have less protection than we had,” Kuster said during a roundtable discussion at the New Hampshire Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence in Concord. “This takes us backward to a time when people did not have the courage to speak up.”