Speak Up, Support Survivors, Vote in November

Leading up to the midterm elections, Ilana Foggle will be writing articles for the Review about local candidates and issues to increase awareness of Oberlin and Ohio politics.

Editor’s Note: This article contains mention of sexual assault, sexual abuse, domestic abuse, and victim-shaming.

Meet Jim Jordan.

Republican Jim Jordan has been the representative for Ohio’s 4th Congressional District since his election in 2006. In 2015, Jim Jordan founded the House Freedom Caucus, a group of the most active conservative and libertarian members of Congress. Since his election, Jim Jordan has voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act and funding enforcement of equal pay for women. He has voted to restrict and ban legal abortions, to restrict birth control and limit women’s healthcare services, and defund Planned Parenthood.

Recently, Rep. Jordan has been accused of willfully ignoring claims of sexual abuse at Ohio State University, where he served as assistant wrestling coach. Former wrestlers at the university claim that Jordan knew about sexual abuse perpetrated by team doctor Richard Strauss, which he failed to report. Should Jim Jordan be re-elected this November, he will be a major contender for Speaker of the House, the most powerful member of the House of Representatives and third in line for the United States Presidency.

Meet Janet Garrett.

Oberlin native and Democratic candidate Janet Garrett is running to take Jim Jordan’s seat in Ohio’s 4th Congressional District. She is a retired schoolteacher, former union president, mother, and survivor of domestic abuse. In light of the allegations against Jim Jordan, Brett Kavanaugh, and President Trump, Janet Garrett shared her own story of abuse. In her latest video, Janet Garrett describes the abuse that she endured at the hands of her ex-husband, because she wants other women to know “that this is something that goes on, and there is life after being in an abusive relationship.” She has found her voice, and other women “can find their voice too.” Janet Garrett proclaims that during a time when women are standing up to say “enough,” it is important now, more than ever, to stand up for what you believe in, and vote that way.

These past few weeks have been devastating, to say the least, for sexual abuse and assault survivors across the country. Women and men all around the world felt inspired by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford’s courageous public service and brave testimony. However, many survivors have had to relive their trauma due to Kavanaugh’s confirmation and the backlash that Dr. Ford and fellow survivors have faced from politicians in Washington, D.C. and the President of the United States. During this time, supporting survivors is crucial. There are many ways to support those who have been affected by these recent events. Reach out to your friends. Support and listen to those who need it. Show your support and solidarity on social media. Protest. But most importantly, vote.

Allyship and activism come in many forms. As constituents of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District, we have the opportunity to support survivors on a national level. We have the opportunity to end the cycle of complacency toward assault that politicians in our country have displayed time and time again. We have the opportunity to remove Jordan from office — a man who has failed to report sexual assault and has continually demoralized women and survivors of abuse. We have the opportunity to vote for someone who was brave enough to stand up, share her story, and inspire women to find their voices. We have the opportunity to show Anita Hill, Monica Lewinsky, Dr. Ford, and survivors of harassment, assault, victim-shaming, and abuse across the country that they have been heard.

This is not about partisan politics. This is about taking a stand against sexual abuse in all forms. This is about saying “enough is enough.” On Nov. 6, you have the privilege, the right, and the duty to directly transform our country through the power of the polls. Speak up. Support survivors. Vote.