Bay Area students, politicians work to make sexual misconduct problem of the past

ByKate Larsen KGO logo
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
Bay Area students, politicians work to make sexual misconduct problem of the past
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Communities in the Bay Area are working on a national and local level to ensure sexual abuse and harassment becomes a problem of the past.

PALO ALTO, Calif. (KGO) -- Communities in the Bay Area are working on a national and local level to ensure sexual abuse and harassment becomes a problem of the past.

ABC7 spoke to a now well-known Stanford professor, who on a national level is trying to make sure lower level politicians accused of sexual harassment don't ascend to more powerful positions.

ABC7 also spoke to an educator who, on a more grassroots level, is trying to ensure young people grow up to be respectful of adults, who don't end up committing any sort of sexual abuse in the first place.

RELATED: 2nd woman reportedly claims sexual misconduct by Kavanaugh

"There should be no abusers in public office, there should be no abusers in the White House, there should be no abusers on the Supreme Court," said Stanford law professor, Michele Dauber, who lead the charge on Judge Aaron Perskey's recall. Dauber is now targeting politicians across the country who have been accused of sexual misconduct.

"Women are 51 percent of the registered voters in this country and we frankly do not have to accept elected officials representing us who don't take sexual harassment, violence against women, domestic violence seriously."

On Monday, Dauber launched a new political action committee called the Enough is Enough Voter Project.

The PAC is raising money to target candidates in this year's midterm elections and has set a goal of raising at least $250,000 this cycle. "The way we're going to get real change is to go to the polls and vote."

The five candidates named so far on the PAC website are all Republicans, but Dauber says the group will also target Democrats. "This is bipartisan. These individuals are not wanted by any political party frankly."

"Schools play a really important role in the development of young children, young adults and teenagers," said Mary Ann Dewan who is the Santa Clara County Superintendent of Schools. She sent out a letter Monday to all the superintendents in the county about the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings.

RELATED: Lawyers for Kavanaugh accuser commit to open Senate hearing

In the letter, she urged the school leaders to starts conversations to make it clear to students that sexual assault is wrong and that everyone has a role in ensuring the safety of the community.

After thirty years in education, Dewan says she's now seeing the conversation change about how young men and women can appropriately interact."Perhaps things that were considered a normal part of growing up... and learning how to get along and be in a relationship and develop romantic relationships has certainly evolved over time."

Dewan also says Santa Clara County will be reviewing their policies and procedures about conduct, reporting requirements and investigative standards.

READ: Mary Ann Dewan's letter to superintendents

September 24, 2018
Dear Colleagues:
As the United State Senate's Judiciary Committee holds confirmation hearings to determine whether or not they will select Brett Kavanagh to become a member of the United States Supreme Court, recent developments have brought the issue of sexual misconduct and assault to the forefront of the hearings and the national conversation.

As an educator, I know that students within your district may be watching the debate and listening to elected officials and political pundits discussing sexual assault. It is imperative that we focus on reframing this national dialogue to ensure that we create a culture of open dialogue within our schools and communities about safe and healthy relationships, proper conduct, investigations, and reporting structures.

For this reason, I am urging you to lead conversations within your district in order to make it clear to your students and communities that, not only do we recognize that sexual assault is wrong, but equally, that we all have a role to play in ensuring that everyone in our community is happy and safe.

This may be an important time to review policies and procedures about conduct, reporting requirements, and standards of investigation. In this moment, we have the opportunity to empower our students and to bring our community closer together by providing the type of moral leadership that sadly is missing at the national level.

If your district is in need of support, feel free to contact my office. Together, we will ensure that the next generation of leaders will be unafraid to ask for help if they need it and will have the support to make all of their dreams a reality.


Mary Ann Dewan

Find more stories, photos, and videos on Brett Kavanaugh here.