Cori Bush brings poster to House floor outlining ‘tips to not commit sexual assault’

Rep. Cori Bush (D-Mo.) on Tuesday brought a poster to the House floor outlining “tips” for how people can avoid committing sexual assault.

Bush, who has openly recounted her own experience as a sexual assault survivor, presented the tongue-in-cheek suggestions to challenge what she described as a societal tendency to engage in “victim-blaming.”

“We’re tired of being told that if we had just done this or done that, it wouldn’t have happened to us. We’re tired of being told to feel guilty about what we wore or what we said,” Bush said.

Instead, Bush said, the onus of sexual assault prevention measures should be placed on perpetrators. She then outlined several ideas for countering thoughts of committing sexual assault.

“If you’re thinking about putting drugs in someone’s drink, don’t. If you can’t keep yourself from committing sexual assault, always have a trusted friend by your side to stop you from committing sexual assault. If you encounter someone who is drunk, unconscious or asleep, do not commit sexual assault against that person,” Bush said while standing next to the poster titled: “tips to not commit sexual assault from a survivor.”

“If you see someone walking by themselves, just leave them alone. If you’re worried about committing sexual assault, make sure you wear something that will remind you not to — like a sign or a sticker. If you think you might commit sexual assault, always carry a whistle. When you find yourself about to commit sexual assault, blow the whistle until someone else stops you,” she continued.

Bush discussed how she was sexually assaulted as a teenager in an interview with Vanity Fair shortly before she testified before the House Oversight and Reform Committee in September about her subsequent experience getting an abortion.

Bush noted that she initially blamed herself for the assault, which occurred during a church trip.

“I didn’t see that as rape. I felt like I did something — I did something wrong,” Bush told Vanity Fair. “I didn’t fight him back. I didn’t even know what was going on, but I didn’t fight him back, I didn’t tell him stop, I didn’t say no. I just laid there and let him do whatever he wanted to do. Now I do know that consent is enthusiasm. If there’s enthusiasm then there is consent, and on my part, there was absolutely no enthusiasm. It was fear.”

Bush learned several weeks after the assault that she was pregnant, leading her to get an abortion.

“Choosing to have an abortion was the hardest decision I had ever made,” Bush said during the House Oversight and Reform Committee hearing, which came amid state efforts to restrict abortions. “But at 18 years old, I knew it was the right decision for me.”

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