Positive Legacy for VA Women
Press, 20 June 2002, A11.
Vance Wilkins resigned as speaker of the House of Delegates last week,
he tried to excuse his misconduct by pleading ignorance of ordinary
standards of decent behavior, arguing that in some past time it was OK
for men in power to force unwanted sexual advances on women.
No one bought the
argument, although too many tried to equate his behavior to
unacceptable but less serious forms of harassment and, in some cases,
inappropriate, but nonetheless consensual behavior by other people in
Now that he has done
the right thing by resigning, it is time for Wilkins to show real
leadership in seeking to change forever the society in which sexual
harassment, sexual assault and domestic violence continue to plague our
workplaces, homes and communities.
Wilkins can do this
by putting his substantial political capital and money to work. He can
advocate the election of a woman to replace him as speaker.
And, he can use the
money left in his Dominion Leadership Fund, Wilkins' political action
committee that is authorized by law to make contributions to
candidates, other political committees or charities, to make
contributions to organizations serving Virginia women and girls.
Here are some ideas
about how Wilkins can use his PAC money to help make positive change:
||He can give to local
Girl Scouts organizations in his district that provide leadership and
other positive opportunities for young girls.
can make a contribution to The Virginia Foundation for Women to help
endow either the Virginia Women's Leadership Project (a collaboration
facilitating the appointment of women to public positions) or the
Women's History Month project (an SOL-based curriculum and poster
designed to educate children about women who have made important
contributions to Virginia).
||He can support
Virginians Against Domestic Violence -- a nonprofit coalition that is
dedicated to the elimination of domestic violence.
can make a contribution to the American Association of University Women
Legal Advocacy Fund to support legal services for women and girls who
are victims of sexual harassment at Virginia schools and colleges.
can contribute to the Republican WISH List (a national organization
dedicated to electing more Republican women), Make Women Count PAC (a
statewide bipartisan committee dedicated to electing more women to the
General Assembly) or other organizations dedicated to the election of
more women to state, local and federal offices.
can fund sexual harassment training for his colleagues in the House of
All of these would be
worthwhile investments of Wilkins' leadership funds that would leave a
positive legacy to the women and girls of Virginia.
You know, if Wilkins
acts on some of these suggestions, something good could come out of