Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I object to the vote on the ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present.
April 28, 2009 on Page H4871 the following appeared: Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, on that I demand the yeas and nays.
The online version should be corrected to read: Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Madam Speaker, I object to the vote on the
ground that a quorum is not present and make the point of order that a quorum is not present. The point of no quorum is considered withdrawn.
The yeas and nays were ordered.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I move to suspend the rules and agree to the concurrent resolution (H. Con. Res. 104) supporting the goals and ideals of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
The Clerk read the title of the concurrent resolution.
The text of the concurrent resolution is as follows:
H. Con. Res. 104
Whereas on average, a person is sexually assaulted in the United States every two-and-a-half minutes;
Whereas the Department of Justice reports that 191,670 people in the United States were sexually assaulted in 2005;
Whereas 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been victims of rape or attempted rape;
Whereas the Department of Defense received 2,688 reports of sexual assault involving members of the Armed Forces in fiscal year 2007;
Whereas children and young adults are most at risk of sexual assault, as 44 percent of sexual assault victims are under the age of 18, and 80 percent are under the age of 30;
Whereas sexual assault affects women, men, and children of all racial, social, religious, age, ethnic, and economic groups in the United States;
Whereas only 41 percent of sexual assault victims pursue prosecution by reporting their attack to law enforcement agencies;
Whereas two-thirds of sexual crimes are committed by persons who are not strangers to the victims;
Whereas sexual assault survivors suffer emotional scars long after the physical scars have healed;
Whereas prevention education programs carried out by rape crisis and women's health centers have the potential to reduce the prevalence of sexual assault in their communities;
Whereas because of recent advances in DNA technology, law enforcement agencies have the potential to identify the rapists in tens of thousands of unsolved rape cases;
Whereas aggressive prosecution can incarcerate rapists and therefore prevent them from committing further crimes;
Whereas free, confidential help is available to all survivors of sexual assault through the National Sexual Assault Hotline, more than 1,000 rape crisis centers across the United States, and other organizations that provide services to assist survivors of sexual assault; and
Whereas April is recognized as ``National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month'': Now, therefore, be it
Resolved by the House of Representatives (the Senate concurring), That--
(1) it is the sense of Congress that--
(A) National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month provides a special opportunity to educate the people of the United States about sexual violence and to encourage the prevention of sexual assault, the improved treatment of its survivors, and the prosecution of its perpetrators;
(B) it is appropriate to properly acknowledge the more than 20,000,000 men and women who have survived sexual assault in the United States and salute the efforts of survivors, volunteers, and professionals who combat sexual assault;
(C) national and community organizations and private sector supporters should be recognized and applauded for their work in promoting awareness about sexual assault, providing information and treatment to its survivors, and increasing the number of successful prosecutions of its perpetrators; and
(D) public safety, law enforcement, and health professionals should be recognized and applauded for their hard work and innovative strategies to increase the percentage of sexual assault cases that result in the prosecution and incarceration of the offenders;
(2) Congress strongly recommends national and community organizations, businesses in the private sector, colleges and universities, and the media to promote, through National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month, awareness of sexual violence and strategies to decrease the incidence of sexual assault; and
(3) Congress supports the goals and ideals of National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Mr. SCOTT of Georgia. Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent that all Members may have 5 legislative days to revise and extend their remarks and include extraneous material on the resolution under consideration.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. I yield myself such time as I may consume.
Mr. Speaker, first I want to thank the gentlelady from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin), as well as the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe), for introducing this important resolution, and I rise in support to acknowledge the impact that sexual assault has on its victims and to promote education about and prevention of sexual assault.
This resolution highlights the immense problem of sexual assault in the United States. A person is sexually assaulted in the United States every 2 1/2 minutes. Almost 18 million women, 1 in 6, have been victims of rape or attempted rape, and almost 3 million men, 1 in 33, have also been victims.
Sexual assault also harms the society. Medical expenses, lost productivity, treatment of psychological trauma and pain and suffering cost victims roughly $127 billion per year.
It can also lead to long-term health problems such as chronic pain and headaches and stomach problems and sexually transmitted diseases, and can leave victims with emotional issues which can lead to depression and even suicide.
Designating April to be Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month is an important step in recognizing the problem. Highlighting and focusing on this issue gives us the opportunity to educate the public and allows us to praise the survivors, as well as the volunteers and professionals who have dedicated their lives to combating sexual assault.
I urge my colleagues to support this important resolution.
I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. POE of Texas. I yield myself such time as I may consume, Mr. Speaker.
I'm pleased to join my Judiciary Committee colleague, the gentlelady from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin) as an original sponsor on this resolution. I want to thank her for her efforts in presenting this to Congress. I would like to thank her for reintroducing House Concurrent Resolution 104 to recognize April as National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month.
Every 2 1/2 minutes a person is sexually assaulted in the United States. Sadly, 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have been victims of rape or attempted rape. Two-thirds of these assaults are committed by someone that is actually [Page: H4872]
known by the victim, and yet, only about 40 percent of sexual assaults are ever reported to law enforcement authorities.
Sexual Assault Awareness Month attempts to change these startling statistics by promoting education programs, victims support services, advances in DNA and forensics technology, and aggressive prosecution and incarceration of sexual assault offenders.
National Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month helps to educate the public about sexual assault in our communities and the long-term effects that it has on its victims.
It also recognizes the work of staff and volunteers at rape crisis centers and other community organizations across the country that provide counseling and victims support services to sexual assault survivors.
With education and community support, it is my hope that more victims will pursue prosecution of their attackers by reporting their assaults to law enforcement. Once victims take this first critical step, it's up to lawmakers and law enforcement to ensure that these violent offenders are put away.
Last Congress, both the House and the Senate passed H.R. 5057, reauthorizing the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Program. The legislation was then signed into law on October 8, 2008.
The Debbie Smith program, originally authorized in 2000, awards grants to State and local governments to reduce the DNA backlogs of samples collected from crime scenes and the backlog for entry into the national DNA database. Through these grants, State and local governments received funding to test approximately 104,000 DNA cases between 2004 and 2007.
These grants have also funded the collection of 2.5 million DNA samples from convicted offenders and arrestees for inclusion in the national DNA database. The Department of Justice estimates that over 5,000 ``hits'' or matches are the result of this DNA backlog reduction. This is a positive step forward, but we must continue our efforts to reduce the DNA backlog to provide justice for sexual assault victims and put their attackers behind bars.
I urge my colleagues to support this resolution, and I reserve the balance of my time.
Mr. POE of Texas. Mr. Speaker, in this sterile environment of the Halls of Congress, sometimes we forget that sexual assault is a crime that is committed against people in this country, a crime that most of them never really get over.
In my experience as a prosecutor and a judge for 22 years, I came in contact with numerous sexual assault victims, some of which never could quite handle and cope with the fact that they had been a victim of a crime, especially this crime, because, you see, when the offender commits a sexual assault against someone else, that offender is trying to steal the very soul of that victim. And sometimes victims cannot recover from that, emotionally or physically. That is why this legislation is important
and that we, as Members of Congress, do our duty and be the advocates for those victims that have silent voices throughout this country.
And that's just the way it is.
I yield back the remainder of my time.
Mr. SCOTT of Virginia. Mr. Speaker, I want to thank the gentleman from Texas (Mr. Poe), as well as the chief sponsor of the resolution, the gentlelady from Wisconsin (Ms. Baldwin), for their hard work on the issue of sexual assault.
I urge my colleagues to support the resolution.