UPDATE: Senate Judiciary Committee documents show that they will no longer hold a nomination hearing tomorrow for Shannon Lee Goessling. Goessling’s hearing is expected to be rescheduled, and the concerns of the women’s rights community stand.
Washington, DC—On Tuesday, March 5, 2019 the Senate Judiciary Committee will hold a nomination hearing for Shannon Lee Goessling, the Trump Administration’s nominee to head the Office of Violence Against Women (OVW) at the Department of Justice.
Women’s rights and anti-violence advocates have raised serious concerns over the nominee’s limited experience supporting survivors of domestic and sexual violence, as well as her time as executive director and chief legal counsel at Southeastern Legal Foundation, an organization that, under her leadership, advocated against LGBTQ and immigrant rights, and in favor of expanding access to gun ownership as a way to address violence against women.
“The head of the Office of Violence Against Women must be someone who recognizes the intersectional complexities to ending intimate partner and sexual violence; Shannon Goessling is very clearly not that person,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority Foundation. “We are very concerned that a vote for Goessling is a vote to exclude LGBTQ and immigrant survivors from protections and resources.”
Smeal continued, “Goessling’s position that guns protect women in domestic and sexual violence situations could not be further from the truth. Every credible scientific study shows that a gun in a woman’s home is far more likely to be used against her than to protect her. When an abuser has access to a firearm, their partner is five times more likely to be killed. Goessling’s severely flawed perspective essentially makes victims responsible for stopping their own sexual or physical assaults and threatens to hurt even more women, not protect them.”
The Office of Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice is charged with reducing violence against women and strengthening services to all survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.