Stanford Law School professor and activist Michele Dauber spoke on Monday at Tresidder about the importance of making gender-based violence a voting issue in the 2018 midterms and beyond.
Dauber — a key figure in the successful campaign to recall former Judge Aaron Persky ’84 M.A. ’85 — recently launched Enough is Enough, a political action committee (PAC) meant to target politicians accused of sexual assault or viewed as having voting records contrary to women’s rights.
The PAC aims to address sexual violence within politics by bringing the issue to the polls. Specifically, it will focus on state legislators, who often operate without much scrutiny from local journalism or the public.
Hosted by Stanford in Government and Stanford Women in Politics, Dauber explained to her audience that exposing sexual misconduct at the local level can also more efficiently and inexpensively stop guilty politicians early on in their careers.
“If someone had taken Roy Moore out when he was hanging around the shopping mall,” she said, “he never would have grown up to run in the most expensive Senate race in history.”
Dauber added that Enough is Enough does not aim to be a partisan organization, although she acknowledged that the PAC plans to only target Democratic candidates in primaries and focus on Republican candidates in general elections.
Currently, the Enough is Enough website features five Republican candidates running for local and Congressional races who it aims to prevent from election.
In a grassroots effort separate from Enough is Enough, Dauber has also worked to raise money and awareness of Matt Manweller, a Washington state legislator under investigation for sexual misconduct at his previous job as a professor at Central Washington University. In her talk, Dauber described Manweller as a “triple crown candidate” who has committed sexual offenses, voted against the rights of sexual assault victims and spoke out against the #MeToo movement.
In the two weeks since its launch, Enough is Enough has already exceeded its goal of raising $250,000. It has also started galvanizing public interest with grassroots methods like mail, texts, phone banks and press appearances.
Dauber emphasized that Stanford students are also vulnerable to sexual violence. According to Stanford’s 2015 climate report, approximately 40 percent of undergraduate women surveyed said they had experienced some form of sexual violence while at Stanford.
According to Dauber, victims of sexual violence at Stanford who are interested in working in Silicon Valley are vulnerable to the “frat culture” and “bro culture” prevalent in the industry. Dauber argued that these victims must either rethink their entire career or endure working within the same environment where they were abused.
One way to change that dynamic, Dauber argued, is through the ballot, citing the success of the campaign to recall Persky as a major inspiration for her starting Enough is Enough.
“The language of power in a democracy is voting,” Dauber said.
Dauber had emphasized the same point in the context of Judge Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation amidst allegations of sexual assault by Stanford affiliate Christine Blasey Ford.
“The only way we are going to make progress on sexual violence is by turning it into a serious voting issue in which individuals who have been credibility accused of these kinds of offenses are voted out of office,” she told The Daily on Saturday night.
A previous version of this article incorrectly stated that the campaign against Matt Manweller is a part of the Enough is Enough Voter Project. The campaign is actually the project of a local group, also called Enough is Enough. The Daily regrets this error.
Contact Julia Kwak at julkwak ‘at’ stanford.edu.