Statement by NOW President Toni Van Pelt, Sonia Ossorio, president of NOW-New York. Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority, and Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet:
Thousands of people have signed on to a petition launched by the Feminist Majority, the National Organization for Women, the National Organization for Women of New York, and UltraViolet demanding that former New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman donate the millions of dollars from his now defunct re-election campaign to organizations that support survivors and seek to end intimate partner and sexual violence.
“Eric Schneiderman was charged with protecting survivors and vulnerable people. Instead, he perpetuated the epidemic of violence against women, hurting those closest to him and undermining the public’s confidence in one of the most important legal positions in our country,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “If he intends to make amends, the least he can do is ensure that his campaign contributions actually go to an organization that will defend the survivors he failed.”
“Schneiderman can and must do more than just offer remorse for the abuse he inflicted on his partners. He needs to step up and put his money where his mouth is,” said Toni Van Pelt, president of the National Organization for Women. “Survivors of sexual violence need more than words. They need support and legislation that protects them, instead of their abusers.”
“Mr. Schneiderman used his office as a weapon to exert political and law enforcement power on his victims,” said Sonia Ossorio, president of the National Organization for Women of New York. “These survivors have done a great public service in bravely taking him on and he should do the right thing and donate his defunct campaign funds to organizations that support survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. Women deserve more than an apology.”
“If former NY Attorney General and domestic abuser Eric Schneiderman is serious about accepting ‘full responsibility’ for his abuse of women, he needs to back that up with action and donate the millions of campaign contributions he continues to hoard to intimate partner violence prevention and support groups,” said Shaunna Thomas, executive director of UltraViolet. “Anything less proves that Schneiderman’s claims of contrition are just self-serving empty words.”
Schneiderman was forced to resign in disgrace in May 2018 after four women with whom he had previously been in relationships accused him of repeated physical abuse described as hitting, choking, and slapping. After initially insisting that the physical abuse had been “consensual,” Schneiderman has since accepted “full responsibility.” The Nassau County District Attorney has said that while she believes the women, legal impediments, such as statutes of limitations, preclude her from moving forward with a criminal prosecution at this time.
Feminist Majority Contact: Erin Gistaro – firstname.lastname@example.org – 703.522.2214
National NOW Contact: Dee Donavanik – email@example.com – 202.695.8229
New York NOW Contact: Rose Levy – firstname.lastname@example.org – 202.262.1635
UltraViolet Contact: Brett Abrams – email@example.com – 516.841.1105
Dee Donavanik, firstname.lastname@example.org , 202-628-8669