Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Calls for the Resignation of Representative Don Shooter
For Immediate Release:
Contact: Allie Bones, Chief Executive Officer or Jessye Johnson, Chief Strategy Officer Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence
c: 602-391-8690 firstname.lastname@example.org
The Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence calls for the resignation of Representative Don Shooter
(Phoenix, AZ) – Over the course of the past week and led by Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, several women have come forward with claims of sexual harassment by Rep. Don Shooter of Yuma. ACESDV acknowledges that these accusations are serious and that no formal charges or disciplinary action have taken place at this point. However, we do know that rarely are perpetrators of sexual harassment and sexual assault formally held accountable within various systems so believing victims who come forward should never be dependent on the criminal justice system proving, beyond a reasonable doubt, that harassment or assault has taken place. ACESDV stands by Rep. Shooter’s accusers, including Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita, and others that have and may come forward. We believe, in this case, that the severity of the accusations is enough to call on Rep. Shooter’s resignation as his leadership at the capital and on behalf of his constituents in his district has been compromised. Rep. Shooter’s voluntary resignation would demonstrate that his priorities and interests are truly in the best interest of both.
Victims of sexual harassment and assault face many barriers before and after coming forward with allegations of abuse including having their own character called into question, judgements about the validity of the accusations and about how victims should have or have not responded to the abuse they endured. We have seen this happen in this case, already, as well as other high profile cases in recent history including the allegations against Bill Cosby and, most recently, Harvey Weinstein. “Allegations of any form of sexual abuse, including sexual harassment, should be taken seriously because they are serious, and victims should be believed. In this case, it appears that Rep. Shooter felt as though he had some license to use his position of power and seniority at the capital to harass various women he came in contact with” says Allie Bones, CEO of the Arizona Coalition to End Sexual and Domestic Violence. “The integrity of his leadership and character has been compromised enough to negatively impact his role as a leader in this state and he should do what is right and resign immediately.”
Sexual harassment is a complex issue, and it is critical that we collectively decide to err on the side of believing victims who are brave enough to come forward. Journalists play a critical role in illuminating the truth for people and for breaking the silence on these horrible crimes. For resources on best practices on reporting on sexual violence, the National Sexual Violence Resource Center (NSRVC) has developed a packet for journalists; it can be viewed online at here.