TAASA Executive Director Opposes SB 6 and HB 2899

For the past 35 years, TAASA has been the voice for sexual assault survivors in Texas. I wish I was here today to speak about one of the solid, victim-centered bills currently proposed in the legislature. Unfortunately, I’m here to speak out on SB6 & CSHB2899 which markets itself as safety and privacy legislation for women but misses the mark by miles.

Let me be clear, these bills do nothing to prevent sexual assault and I am offended that the issue of sexual assault has been co-opted to promote these bills. I have been doing this work for almost 40 years in 2 states and have never encountered or even heard of one solitary woman or child who was victimized in a public restroom or locker room by a man posing as a woman. 

As I’ve heard others charitably explain, this bill is a solution in search of an actual problem. And if I believed this bill was merely an innocuous but harmless bill I wouldn’t bother to speak out, but unfortunately that is not the case. Although restricting restroom access for transgender women, men, girls, and boys does not make others safer it does accomplish putting them at risk. The target of this bill -- transgender people -- are more than twice as likely to be victims of sexual assault and hate crimes than the general population. And who actually believes it’s a responsible idea to send a young transgender girl into the men’s room based on her birth certificate?

This is not a public safety issue. It’s our job to understand where, why, and how sexual assaults occur, and I can state definitively that SB 6 and CSHB2899 do not protect women.  Instead, these efforts contradict decades of research. Over 90% child sexual abuse victims are abused by someone known to them, and the vast majority of child sexual abuse occurs in private residences not public spaces. Moreover, if lawmakers actually care about sexual assault, they’ll focus on solutions based in evidence, not rhetoric.  We urge the legislature to reject these discriminatory bills.  

TAASA, as well as more than 80 rape crisis centers across this state, stand ready to help inform and promote any legislation that actually protects our citizens or supports victims.


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