As the world rapidly changes, our laws, rules, and regulations have to change with it. In recent years, the #MeToo movement ignited a huge wave of change regarding sexual assault. More political advocacy can help turn the tide even further!
What exactly is political advocacy?
Political advocacy is the representation and advancement of interests or beliefs where governing and policymaking are concerned. Also called “policy advocacy,” this form of advocacy aims to shape or maintain certain laws and programs enacted by the government.
Political advocacy groups, such as Livestrong, seek to have lawmakers and/or decision makers incorporate their ideas into legislation. These groups are often non-profit organizations or coalitions of individuals that urge elected officials to consider their preferred solutions to particular issues.
Non-profits and individuals aren’t the only ones hoping to create meaningful change on a policy-level. For-profit corporations have also taken part, noting their social responsibility – in other words, their moral duty to enact social change for the better.
Like Patagonia advocates for environmental justice, Leda Health advocates for policies that better serve sexual assault survivors.
What issues around sexual assault need to be addressed?
Unfortunately, we have a long way to go before sexual assault is handled adequately in the United States. Every 68 seconds, someone is sexually assaulted – that’s up from every 73 seconds before the COVID-19 pandemic.
Even though sexual assault is so prevalent, only 23% of survivors report their assault or access care. Due to the strain the pandemic has caused, survivors may be deterred more than ever from seeking help in an emergency department.
We’re glad to see that efforts are being made around the country to address these problems, but we definitely have a lengthy road ahead.
How has Leda Health advocated to solve these issues?
Leda Health has been supporting legislation that aligns with our mission to support and supplement existing systems and resources around sexual assault by aiding with a survivor-centric, trauma-informed approach. We believe in equitable access to care, meeting survivors where they’re at, and autonomy of care.
In 2021, we supported California bill SB-215. The bill ensures survivors are given access to track their evidence kits and other key information. The bill has since been signed into law.
We also fought for a bill that provides additional funding to test backlogged evidence kits in California, helping to secure $4-million toward testing.
How will Leda Health continue to advocate?
So far in 2022, we're working to advocate in support of S. 2655 – the Ensuring Forensic Care for All Victims Act. This is a national bill that would open up funding for the training of providers in medical forensic examinations. We support this bill because it’ll generate opportunities for more medical professionals to learn valuable, trauma-informed skills, and because it’ll expand survivors’ access to care.
We plan to support various pieces of legislation across both the federal and state levels of government that will broaden access to care and uplift the many voices of survivors and organizations fighting for change.
In addition, we’re watching a set of bills that also fall in line with our goals. You can view the bills we’re watching.
What can I do?
Great question! One of the most important things you can do is to bring your concerns to your local, state, and federal representatives. To determine who they are, you can use this tool. Once you have their names, you can easily find their contact information online.
Make sure you write and call to bring up issues you care about! Elected officials are accountable to their constituents, meaning that your voice has power – without you, they wouldn’t be in office. Here’s a helpful guide to writing and calling your legislators.
You can also follow Leda’s socials for updates on our calls to action and advocacy pushes. Together, we can make a difference!
For more information about Leda Health’s advocacy efforts, visit our Advocacy Page or contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.