Me Too Springfield Responds to Signing Of HB126

Springfield, MO -- Let there be zero doubt that Governor Parson’s signing of HB126 will harm and cause suffering to thousands of sexual violence victims in Missouri. The national rape-related pregnancy rate is 5% per rape among victims of reproductive age (aged 12 to 45); an estimated 32,101 pregnancies result from rape each year. Of those, 32.4% of these victims did not discover they were pregnant until they had already entered the second trimester. Fifty percent of those with pregnancies from rape opted for abortion.This is an attack on rape victims in plain sight. To be clear, this is not just a reproductive rights violation, it is absolutely a betrayal to thousands of sexual assault victims each year, who, should they become pregnant, will again be denied autonomy over their already violated bodies. Furthermore, the evidence is explicit that without an exception for rape or incest, the most vulnerable people in our community–our neighbors–are negatively and permanently impacted. Of every 1,000 rapes, only six rapists will be convicted of their crime. Fewer will be appropriately punished. HB126 again adds the burden of consequences onto victims whose backs are already overloaded. Victims need mercy and understanding, not to be sentenced for the crimes against them.

Me Too Springfield Responds to Probation of Ozark Man After Second Rape Conviction

Springfield, MO -- Both leadership and members of our organization were outraged at this news. We strongly believe that one of the best ways to lower the rates of sexual assault is to punish perpetrators. Rulings like this send a strong message to rapists that they can get away with it. Not only is it unjust, but sends the message to victims that pursuing justice isn't worth it. We have been given the privilege of hearing and representing local survivors of sexual assault, and their response to this ruling has been clear. Survivors of Springfield, Missouri (including a board member of Me Too Springfield who has been assigned this same judge for her own rape case) have expressed to us how scared they are now that they will not get justice, and their voices of fear and anguish will not be heard. This ruling is a huge setback to the efforts of our organization and city leaders who are invested in regaining the trust of survivors, getting more women to report, and ensuring that justice is served more even-handedly.

Me Too Springfield Responds to Springfield Police Department

Today CNN published an investigative report detailing the gross mishandling of multiple sexual assault and rape cases by the Springfield Police Department (SPD), including one involving a four-year-old child. Hours later, SPD released a statement addressing some of the accusations. On behalf of all survivors in our community, Me Too Springfield is requesting that SPD provide more reassurance that sexual assault and rape cases are treated with the same seriousness as other crimes. While Me Too Springfield sincerely appreciates the department’s acknowledgement that these cases were mishandled, and the steps taken since 2014 to prevent future negligence, we are troubled by many unanswered questions: Will SPD, and specifically Chief Williams, assure us this will not happen again? Will SPD assure citizens that rape kits will only be destroyed once the statute of limitations is up, and only after they have been analyzed for DNA evidence?

#MeToo rally will be held in Springfield to raise awareness and offer support and community to victims

SPRINGFIELD, MO — Southwest Missouri is coming together on Saturday, Oct. 6 to show solidarity with victims of sexual violence and harassment. The rally on Park Central Square from noon to 5 p.m. will be a space dedicated to conversations on the impact and pervasiveness of sexual violence, and action to support and process the eradication of it. Organizers’ stated goals are awareness, community and action. The viral hashtag #MeToo has started a conversation and a movement for radical community healing. Organizer Jordan Harris says, “Me Too Springfield is here to offer support and community to the sexual assault victims of Springfield and surrounding areas. Sexual violence is so common, but when it happens, the victims are left feeling isolated. This rally’s purpose is to bring healing to our community, and show local survivors that they are not alone in this.” Although the cultural epidemic that breeds sexual violence is not political in nature, legislators recognize they have a role to play leading on this issue—Missouri State Representatives Crystal Quade and Lynn Morris have accepted invitations to speak at the rally. The event will also include musical and spoken word performances, a “What were you wearing?” art exhibit, self-defense demo, and a speaker lineup of local experts. The rally will be inclusive to all people and communities—people of color, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, and all religious-affiliated people and groups. All advocacy organizations, community leaders and community members are invited to participate in this family- and pet-friendly event.