Statement on new Texas Abortion Law From the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA)

released September 9, 2021
by the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault (TAASA)

TAASA unequivocally stands with survivors of sexual assault. We believe survivors of sexual assault deserve dignity, privacy, and bodily autonomy.

It's important for all Texans to confront the realities of rape. Unfortunately, we live in a society where the prevalence of rape is high and survivors are often blamed for their victimization. In Texas, 1 in 5 men and 2 in 5 women will be sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime. Despite these alarming figures, we are rarely able to hold rapists accountable; more than 90% of sexual assaults are never reported to the police.

We are concerned that the consequences of SB8 will further traumatize survivors of sexual violence by stripping them of their right to control their bodies and their lives after an assault. Two decades ago, our membership adopted a resolution in support of survivor choice which stated that any restriction on a person's right to choose is unacceptable. Our state's rape crisis center advocates working with survivors of sexual violence witness the trauma caused by the loss of power and control over one's body; this loss of power and control are at the heart of sexual assault.

Rape crisis centers are vital in empowering and supporting survivors who have been victims of sexual violence. In our role as the statewide coalition for our state's rape crisis centers, we work to ensure not only that policies are survivor-centered but that they are developed with input from survivors.

Texas has made great strides in this work over the past several years. Examples of these kinds of policies in Texas include:

The Sexual Assault Survivor Task Force, created in the 2019 Legislative Session, was instrumental in helping to pass survivor-centered legislation the governor signed into law just a few months ago.

The passage of Sexual Assault Response Teams (SART) legislation that will increase accountability and prosecutions at the local level in our communities. This new law provides a consistent approach to sexual assault disclosures and a coordinated survivor-centered community response.

Increased funding of rape crisis centers. Rape crisis centers across the state are overwhelmed in their work to assist survivors on their paths to healing and justice. Texas must continue to actively prioritize this funding in our state's budget, as rape crisis centers are vital to our communities.

We invite a dialogue with members of the community, grassroots organizations, governmental agencies, religious groups, and the business community to address both the prevention of sexual assault and the expansion of comprehensive services to support survivors in Texas. Together, we can eliminate sexual violence by addressing the root causes while we help survivors seek healing and justice.