Washington State -- Following the allegations of rape against Washington State Senator Joe Fain, Washington women’s groups including Emerge Washington, the National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii, South Sound Women’s Leadership Council, Washington State NOW, and Win With Women released the following joint statement:
“Over the last several weeks, the nation has been embroiled in political and emotional turmoil as we have watched a woman's account of sexual assault by a now sitting Supreme Court Justice become politicized, disbelieved, and ultimately ignored and invalidated.
This isn’t just a Washington D.C. problem. As recently as last year, our own state legislature was embroiled in allegations of inappropriate behavior by lawmakers and lobbyists. This isn’t about partisanship or politics: this is about holding people accountable for their actions and creating a safe workplace and a transparent and just government.
Washington State Senator Joe Fain was recently accused of rape. This allegation is credible and relevant to his fitness to serve as a legislator, as elected officials propose or prevent, and ultimately decide policies that affect women and survivors of sexual assault, harassment, and abuse. As a leader in his caucus, he is particularly influential on these issues.
This allegation has been public for nearly two weeks, yet no investigation has been conducted or even announced. We call on the Washington State Senate and the State Legislative Ethics Board to investigate the allegations of rape against Senator Fain and take appropriate actions consistent with their findings. We also call on Senator Fain to step away from legislative work while an investigation is underway. Finally, we call on Senate Republican Leadership to place Senator Fain on leave from his caucus leadership role until the investigation has concluded.
We are organizations from various backgrounds that work with women. We have come together on this issue because we believe women and we believe survivors. We will not stand by while yet another accusation goes unanswered. The past norms of silencing, shaming, disbelieving, and isolation will not be tolerated any longer. Every credible accusation of sexual assault must be investigated. Enough is enough.”
Executive Director, Emerge Washington
President, National Women’s Political Caucus of Washington
Chief Executive Officer, Planned Parenthood Votes Northwest and Hawaii
Chair, South Sound Women’s Leadership Council
Coordinator, Washington State NOW
Win With Women