Bob Menendez, Patricia Teffenhart Stand up for #MeToo Movement Ahead of SOTU

Bob Menendez, Patricia Teffenhart Stand up for #MeToo Movement Ahead of SOTU


WASHINGTON, D.C. – Dressed in black, U.S. Senator Bob Menendez and Patricia Teffenhart, Executive Director of New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault (NJCASA), today voiced their strong support of the #MeToo movement ahead of tonight’s State of the Union Address. Senator Menendez invited Patricia as his guest because of all the work she has done to raise awareness and fight sexual assault and sexual violence at home and in the workplace.

Out of the nine million constituents Sen. Menendez represents in New Jersey, nearly two million identify as sexual assault survivors.

“We have the privilege as New Jersey Coalition Against Sexual Assault to be in attendance at the State of the Union, which is really the highest level of national leadership in relation to issues that are part of our social discourse,” Teffenhart said.







While traveling on the train down to D.C., Teffenhart took some time to explain on Facebook why she accepted Sen. Menendez’s invitation to be his guest at the SOTU.

“I know that the country is very divided and that many of the people I love, respect, and admire, will not watch the SOTU tonight, and that’s okay; these are challenging, triggering times. Sometimes we just need to shut it all off in the name of self-preservation,” Teffenhart wrote. But, policies impacting survivors in New Jersey are made in Washington, D.C. and Trenton. So…I will be there. Today. Tonight. Tomorrow.”

After graduating from Douglass College, the women’s college of Rutgers University, Teffenhart went on to work for New Jersey Women and AIDS Network (NJWAN) where she focused on providing critical health information to women living with AIDS. She then went on to become the Director of Regional Programs for the National Latina Health Network where she advanced the national health promotion infrastructure in support of Latinas and their families. Teffenhart was also an honoree at Sen. Menendez’s 2017 Women’s History Month Celebration for her dedication to promoting sexual violence awareness.

Sen. Menendez has long advocated for the rights of women and has been the prime sponsor in each of the past five Congresses of the Equal Rights Amendment to U.S. Constitution, prohibiting discrimination against women.  He has also cosponsored a separate resolution that would remove the deadline for ratification of the 1972 Equal Rights Amendment and allow three more states to ratify and make it law.

Sen. Menendez cosponsored the 1993 Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) when he was serving in the House of Representatives and has consistently supported reauthorization and funding for VAWA programs, which has been credited for a 63% drop in sexual assault since the law was passed.  He also cosponsored the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act (Campus SaVE Act) that was passed as part of the last VAWA five-year reauthorization in 2013 and addressed the problem of sexual violence on college campuses by requiring colleges and universities to clearly outline their policies regarding sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and stalking. 

Sen. Menendez is an original cosponsor of the Fair Housing for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Survivors Act that would prohibit housing discrimination against survivors of domestic violence or sexual assault.  In November, he joined other original cosponsors in reintroducing the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA).  He cosponsored the Campus Accountability and Safety Act that increased oversight and protection against sexual assaults on college and university campuses, and cosponsored the Pet and Women Safety Act of 2015 that protected the pets of victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, stalking, and dating violence. 

Additionally, the senator has supported robust federal funding for the Victims of Crimes Act (VOCA) Assistance Programs, the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act (FVPSA), the Debbie Smith DNA Backlog Grant Program and the Department of Justice Campus Grant Program.