TIME Congress

Gillibrand’s Harasser Revealed as Late Hawaii Senator

Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is interviewed in his U.S. Capitol office on July 26, 2012.
Sen. Daniel Inouye, D-Hawaii, is interviewed in his U.S. Capitol office on July 26, 2012. Chris Maddaloni—CQ-Roll Call

Report indicates it was Daniel Inouye

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) made waves in her recent book when she revealed that one of her “favorite” older U.S. senators once told her not to “lose too much weight now” after having her second child because “I like my girls chubby.”

Gillibrand told TIME two weeks ago that she wouldn’t name which senator had said this to her. “It’s less important who they are than what they said,” she said, adding she that hoped relaying the story would make women feel more comfortable when similar things happened to them. But The New York Times, citing unnamed sources, reports that that the Senator in question was the late Daniel Inouye, the legendary Hawaii Democrat and World War II veteran who passed away in 2012. The Times also points out that Inouye had a dark chapter in his history: In 1992 his hairdresser accused him of forcing her to have sex with him.

Gillibrand’s office declined to comment on the report.

TIME White House

Joe Biden’s Gaffe-Ridden Week

Vice President Joe Biden Gaffes
Vice-President Joe Biden looks on during a bilateral meeting between President Obama and President Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on Sept. 18, 2014. Olivier Douliery—Corbis

Joe Biden, known for his verbal gaffes, has had a tough week

Speaking at the Democratic Women’s Leadership Forum, Vice President Joe Biden on Friday praised former Sen. Bob Packwood, who resigned in 1995 after 19 women accused him of sexual harassment and assault.

Err, awkward!

“It was Republicans that expanded access to the polls. It was Republicans in the judiciary committee that did motor voter,” Biden said in arguing that the GOP has moved to the political fringe. “It’s Republicans that were involved. Guys like Mack Mathias and [Bob] Packwood and many others. It wasn’t Democrats alone.”

Biden’s remarks capped a rough week. On Wednesday, he called lenders of bad loans to people serving in the military “Shylocks,” a derogatory name for Jews, earning him a rebuke form the Anti-Defamation League. Also, this week, Biden referred to the First Prime Minister of Singapore as “the Wisest Man in the Orient,” an antiquated word deemed offensive by many Asians. And at an event in Iowa, Biden seemed to leave the door open for ground troops in Iraq to fight the militant group ISIS, a day after President Barack Obama specifically rejected such an option.

Of course, Biden has long history of gaffes, but as Vice President he’s generally reined in his verbosity.

But five in a week is a lot, even for him. Perhaps impending lame-duckdom is loosening his tongue.

MONEY salary

5 Ways Women Can Close the Pay Gap for Themselves

woman standing at bottom of steps with man standing above her
iStock

New Census data found that women earn 78¢ to every $1 men do. These moves can help you get closer to even on your own paycheck.

If you have two X chromosomes and a job, the latest numbers on the wage gap will likely leave you feeling frustrated: Women make only 78¢ for every dollar a man makes, the Census just reported, marking all of a 1¢ improvement over 2012.

Meanwhile, Republican senators blocked the Paycheck Fairness Act this week, which called for greater salary transparency and would have required employers to be able to prove that wage differences were based on factors other than gender.

Overcoming the barriers to equal pay isn’t proving to be easy. And there are some factors we can’t move the needle on as individuals. For example, childbearing counts against us, in what economists have dubbed the “motherhood penalty.” We pay both a per-child wage penalty and also may be dunned for working fewer hours because of our caregiving responsibility. And then there’s straight-up discrimination, which is very hard to prove despite being so palpable to many of us at certain moments in our careers. (Perhaps this explains why one study found that 41% of the pay gap is unexplained!)

Closing the gap a penny at a time is still progress. But for those of you who don’t want to—or can’t—wait around until 2058 to see equal pay, here are five strategies to at least get you closer to even with your XY counterparts.

1. Negotiate smarter…

Working women have heard it all before: We’re not aggressive enough in asking for higher pay; we are bad at negotiating. But if do negotiate aggressively, well, that gets held against us.

But we’ve got to find a way to make it work for us if we want to get paid a fair wage.

So what can we do? Hannah Riley Bowles, a senior lecturer in public policy at Harvard’s Kennedy School who has done research on what makes women successful in negotiations, has found that being collaborative—using “we” and trying to take the perspective of the company and hiring manager—tends to be more effective than other approaches.

She also emphasizes authenticity, so try to come up with language that feels comfortable and natural for you to use.

2. …and from the outset.

A 2011 study by Catalyst tracked 3,300 high-performing students in M.B.A. programs as they began their careers, and found that while 47% of women and 52% of men had countered the initial offer made for their current job, only 31% of women vs. 50% of men had countered the offer for the first job they had out of grad school.

While it’s good that women are catching on to the importance of negotiating, we need to encourage them to do it sooner.

“Failing to negotiate your salary from the start is not only an initial mistake; it is one that will continue to follow you and will be compounded over the years, disadvantaging you throughout the remainder of your career. Every raise you get, every bonus you receive and even the number of stock options you are awarded, will be smaller because these amounts are normally determined as a percentage of your artificially low base salary,” wrote Lee Miller, author of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating on six-figure job-search site TheLadders.

Say you started out $5,000 behind your male peer, making $40,000 vs. his $45,000. If you each got 3% raises for each of the next five years, you’d be making $46,371 vs. his $52,167, expanding the difference to $5,798 and you’d have given up $26,546 in income differential in those years.

The longer this goes on, the harder it is to catch up.

3. Push for promotions early on.

According to Payscale, “women’s pay growth stops outpacing men’s at around age 30, which is when college-educated women typically start having children.” Furthermore, women’s pay peaks at age 39 at $60,000, vs. $95,000 at age 48 for men.

That suggests that a smart move would be to try to move up the ladder before you decide to raise a family.

“How women negotiate their career paths is arguably a more important determinant of lifetime earnings than negotiating a little extra money,” Hannah Riley Bowles told The New York Times recently.

4. Work in a fairer field.

Part of the problem, according to Sarah Jane Glynn, associate director for women’s economic policy at the Center for American Progress, is that a large proportion of women are clustered in a relatively few fields: 44% are in 20 occupations. And typically within those professions, the majority of workers are women. As Glynn has written,

“Female-dominated industries pay lower wages than male-dominated industries requiring similar skill levels, and the effect is stronger in jobs that require higher levels of education.”

So just try for a higher-paying male-dominated field, right? That can help. Harvard labor economist Claudia Goldin found that, for college grads, moving into such a profession would eliminate an average 30% to 35% of the wage gap.

But that’s not always a home run. Goldin found that female aircraft pilots and financial advisors earn less on the dollar compared to male peers than the average worker, at 71% and 73% respectively.

Goldin did find that the pay gap is much smaller than the average in certain fields—including ad sales, dental hygiene, HR, chemistry, pharmacy, and computer programming. But she pegs the slim difference to the fact that these fields allow a specific kind of flexibility that allows one worker to easily sub out for another, if, say, someone has to stay home with a sick kid.

5. Toot your own horn.

That Catalyst study of M.B.A. grads found that, of those women who said they made their achievements known to others in the organization, 30% had greater compensation growth than peers who did not promote themselves.

Some of the qualities found in these folks: “ensuring their manager was aware of their accomplishments, seeking feedback and credit as
appropriate, and asking for a promotion when they felt it was deserved.”

Sounds easy enough on paper, but in real life, this kind of self-promotion isn’t always easy for women.

To make it more palatable, Laura Donovan of Levo League suggests being selective about the moments you do this (e.g. yes to scoring the $1 million client, no to pushing through the report that’s expected of you), choosing the right audience for your message (don’t blast the full staff), and focusing on facts rather than self-congratulation (“I just wanted you to know that we’ve signed the contract with Client Y, for $1 million over two years….”).

Also, focus on the upside: The Catalyst study suggested that self-promotion can help you gain sponsorship from important allies who can help you further advance in your career, and hopefully get you closer to closing the pay gap.

TIME 2016 Election

Hillary Clinton Calls for a Women’s ‘Movement’ Ahead of Elections

Hillary Rodham Clinton
Former Sec. of State Hillary Rodham Clinton speaks during U.S. Sen. Tom Harkin's annual fundraising Steak Fry, Sept. 14, 2014, in Indianola, Iowa. Charlie Neibergall—AP

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election”

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on Thursday called for a women’s “movement” on economic issues ahead of the midterm elections.

“These issues have to be in the life blood of this election and any election,” the presumed 2016 Democratic front-runner said. “We need people to feel that they’re part of a movement, that it’s not just part of an election, it’s part of a movement to really empower themselves, their families and take the future over in a way that is going to give us back the country that we care so much about.”

Clinton was speaking on a panel at the liberal Washington think tank Center for American Progress.

Democrats, including House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, who shared the stage with Clinton on Thursday, have pushed to make women’s economic issues the forefront of the party’s 2014 campaign. Democrats lost the female vote in 2010 for the first time since the Reagan era, and with it control of the House and six Senate seats. They are trying to avoid a similar Republican wave this year. “Why now? What is our strategy? Well, it’s because we want women to vote,” Pelosi told the crowd.

The issue is also near and dear to Clinton’s heart. Many of her advisors from her failed 2008 campaign say that, in retrospect, she should have emphasized the historic nature of her campaign more. Clinton lost women to Barack Obama in nearly half the primaries they fought.

As Secretary of State, Clinton focused on bolstering international support for women and girls. In her second political appearance after resigning from that office more than a year ago, Clinton kept her focus on those topics. “We talk about a glass ceiling, but these [minimum wage] women don’t even have a secure floor under them,” she said at the time.

The Democratic leaders lamented Thursday what they called Republican obstruction of the women’s economic agenda in Congress. The GOP has blocked Democratic efforts to raise the minimum wage—which disproportionally affects women—to $10.10 an hour, to fund universal pre-Kindergarten and other expanded child care efforts, paid maternity and paternity leaves and paid medical leave.

Clinton noted that by stymying women’s access to the workforce, the U.S. leaves 10% of increased GDP “on the table.”

“The argument is grounded in reality, but unfortunately the reality is not the context that these decisions are being made,” Clinton said. “Unfortunately, the Congress… is living in a reality-free zone. Politicians have to listen, and if they don’t it’s at their own peril.”

TIME Scotland

Royal & Ancient Votes to Admit Female Members

The Royal & Ancient Golf Club at St. Andrews has voted overwhelmingly to admit female members for the first time.

The club, exclusively for men since it was founded in Scotland 260 years ago, released a statement Thursday saying 85 percent of those who took part in the ballot voted in favor of allowing female members. The club has a worldwide membership of 2,500.

Peter Dawson, secretary of the R&A, says “the membership has also acted to fast-track a significant initial number of women to become members in the coming months.”

The Royal & Ancient, whose famous clubhouse overlooks the Old Course at St. Andrews, allowed a vote by proxy for the first time.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: September 17

1. Islamic State’s sexual violence is a war crime and U.S. leaders should call it out, seek ways to track it, and hold the terrorists to account. Instead, policymakers are ignoring it.

By Aki Peritz and Tara Maller in Foreign Policy

2. When the rich get richer, states get poorer. Income inequality is eating away at state tax revenue.

By Gabriel J. Petek at Standard and Poor’s Ratings Service

3. Does big philanthropy have too much power over policy?

By Gara LaMarche in Democracy

4. An innovative program is connecting high-performing low-income students with scholarship dollars and guiding them through the daunting financial aid process.

By David Leonhardt in the Upshot

5. Can a major redesign transform Union Station into the commercial and cultural heart of Washington?

By Steven Pearlstein in the Washington Post

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Television

Here’s a Sliver of Good News About Women in Television

FRANCE-ENTERTAINMENT-INTERNET-FILM-TELEVISION-NETFLIX
"Orange is the New Black" cast members US actresses Laura Prepon, Taylor Schilling, Uzo Aduba and Kate Mulgrew pose during a photocall for the launch of Netflix in France on September 15, 2014 in Paris. Francois Guillot—AFP/Getty Images

A new study shows that prime-time television is still very much a boys club, but women are gaining ground in one key area

By now, we’ve almost become accustomed to the depressing figures about how few women are working in the film industry — and television is no different. In front of the camera and behind, the television industry is notoriously a boys’ club. But according to the 17th annual “Boxed In” study, conducted by San Diego State’s Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, which analyzes how many women are working in primetime television and was released Tuesday, there are some key areas where women are on the rise.

Let’s start with the good news: Women producers are on the up in television as this year women accounted for 43% of all producers on network television shows, an increase of five percent over last year. It’s also a 14% increase since 1997-98 (the first year the “Boxed In” study was conducted). Also promisingly, women made up 13% of all directors this year, an increase of one percent from the previous year and an increase of five percent since 1997-98.

Unfortunately, the report wasn’t all positive or even mostly positive about the current state for women in primetime television. This year, the number of women in writing and executive producing positions had decreased from last year’s figures. What’s more, only 20% of creators were women, a decrease of four percent from last year.

Women working in front of the cameras also took a hit, as women only made up 42% of all speaking characters and 42% of major characters this year, marking a one percent decrease from last year.

Though the television roles off-screen are less glamorous than the ones on-screen, the study also found the two are linked. More specifically, the higher the number of women behind the cameras often corresponded with a higher number of women in front of the camera. According to the numbers, when a program had at least one woman writer on staff, “females accounted for 46% of all characters.” Yet the number of female characters dropped to 38% when there were no women writers on staff.

While the above numbers only take network television into account, “Boxed In” did also factor in the number of women working in cable and Netflix shows. Sadly, those numbers don’t exactly offer improvements. Looking at broadcast, cable and Netflix together, women made up 40% of producers, 26% of writers, 21% of executive producers, 19% of creators and 13% of directors. (Though once again, producers and directors marked a marginal increase over last year’s figures.)

With the commercial and critical success of women-led shows such as Orange is the New Black and Scandal and Girls, it might be hard to believe that now isn’t a pinnacle time for women in the industry. Yet, according to the figures and Dr. Martha Lauzen, the Executive Director of the Center for the Study of Women in Television and Film, that’s simply not the case.

“For many years, women have experienced slow but incremental growth both as characters on screen and working in key positions behind the scenes,” Lauzen said in a statement. “However, that progress, small though it was, now appears to have stalled.”

TIME Books

I’m a Woman Who Lived as a Boy: My Years as a Bacha Posh

The Underground Girls of Kabul
The Underground Girls of Kabul Crown

For 9 years of her youth in Afghanistan, Faheema lived as Faheem—a boy, one free from the societal barriers and stigmas women face

Jenny Nordberg’s The Underground Girls of Kabul, published Sept. 16, is the result of five years of research into why it’s not uncommon for girls in Afghanistan to be brought up as boys. Nordberg, an investigative reporter, discovered the practice in 2009, and detailed it in a story for The New York Times.

The Underground Girls of Kabul explores the reasons for, and the consequences of, this longstanding practice, which has affected many Afghan girls and women. It also offers a glimpse into the situation for women there, which remains precarious.

What happens to such a person, Nordberg wondered, when they relocate to a society that values women more, and there is no longer a need to hide? She recently connected with another young Afghan woman, now living in the U.S., who once passed as a boy in her home country.

Exclusively for TIME, this is the story of Faheema.

**

Liberating. That’s how it felt, walking out the door for the first time as a boy. I was 12. I was no longer Faheema, who needed to be proper and watch her every move, but Faheem, who had guts and could go where he wanted. That was my right as a bacha posh—from Dari, it translates to, “dressed up as a boy.” It’s what they call girls who live their lives disguised as boys in Afghanistan. And I suppose those who eventually become boys on the inside, too.

My family had returned to Kabul after the Taliban, and in 2002, society was so much more conservative there than in Pakistan, where we had lived as refugees. Girls were looked down upon, and being one was made very difficult.

With short hair and in pants, I found that no one would look at me on the street, or harass me. I did not have to wear the scarf. I could look people in the eyes. I could speak to other boys, and adult men too. I did not have to make myself smaller by hunching over. I could walk fast. Or run, if I felt like it.

In fact, I had been brought up as a boy—I just didn’t look like one at first.

At home, I was the one who got things done. We were carpet weavers, and I ran the family enterprise from our house. Seven other, younger, children took orders from me. My parents often told me they wished I had been born a boy. They have said it for as long as I can remember; my father in particular. It would have made more sense, he said, since I was a harder worker than any of my brothers.

Even while living as a girl, I tried to do everything Afghan society and culture said I couldn’t do. I became strong. I took responsibility. I educated myself and my siblings. I helped my father with his guests and all the technical work at the house. But I still felt inadequate.

Most bacha posh in Afghanistan are made that way by their parents. But my story is different. One day I made the decision for myself to switch. I gave them what they asked for.

It worked.

The attitude, the lowered voice; how I moved with more confidence. I could disappear in a crowd. The more divided a society, the easier it is to change the outside. Others bought it. It shocked me that I could trick those harassing eyes just by how I looked. Being a boy allowed me to function as a more of a whole person in society. It was practical. I could protect my sisters, and escort them to class in winter. It pleased my parents, too. At least they did not protest.

I spent nine years as a boy. I continued trying to please my parents like that until a few years ago, when I came to a small town in America to go to college. My turning point was when I started thinking about being a woman. Why should I need to hide? Could I not have the same pride, and the same abilities, as a girl? Why did only my male self have that strength? I had been so proud to be a boy, in that I had figured it out and outsmarted everyone. That I had won. But I began feeling more and more angry. I was like, “How long will I have to do this?”

To be honest, I had always thought of being a bacha posh as my own choice; that I was doing something also for myself, and of my own free will. But that was not entirely true, I realize now. My parents’ wish for me to be a boy forced me to become one. I took it too literally. So a few years ago, I wanted to try and accept myself as a girl. I knew it was inevitable at some point anyway.

By then, I was 18 but I still had no breasts, and my periods were irregular. When my mother had sought out a doctor in Kabul, he said that my psyche may be turning into that of a man’s. It scared her. She worried I may never be able to turn back.

It was hard. I began letting my hair grow out. Now it’s almost all the way down to my waist. I also went to see a psychologist at my university. We talked about what is male and what is female in me. I don’t know what normal is, but I am not as angry anymore. The differences between men and women exist here too, but there is no need for me to pretend to be a man in order to go outside, or to count as a full person. In some ways America is a conservative society too, and it’s so important for many people to be either male or female. I have both in me now and that’s how I’ll always be.

I think often about what it means.

Being a man gives you so many privileges, you don’t see the small things. You own the world and everything is yours. As a boy, I was very busy thinking of everything I needed and wanted. That’s what you do. You just don’t take much of it in. You focus on yourself. A lot is expected of you as a man, so you have to.

As a woman, you see more. You notice what’s around you. To me, that is the essence of it. You relate to others. As a woman, I have a soft core that melts with everything. As a woman, I can feel what others feel. I see what they see. And I cry with them. I think of that as the female in me. I allow that now.

I’m in my twenties now, and I don’t expect to live long. A woman’s average life in Afghanistan is 44 years, so I’m halfway done. I would like to stay here and become an anthropologist, but my American visa expires in a few months, and then I have to return home.

My father still only accepts me as a boy, not as a girl. We talk on Skype: He is a macho colonel in Afghanistan who calls me every day. Like my close friends, he is still allowed to call me by my boy name. But I know now that both my family and much of my society was wrong in saying that only boys can do certain things. They are the ones who don’t allow girls to do anything.

I have complicated feelings about the freedom I have here in the West. It’s borrowed. It’s not really mine. Deep down you know it’s going to be taken away at any moment. Just like that of a bacha posh.

As told to and edited by Jenny Nordberg.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME 2014 Election

Women Could Finally Make Up 20% of Congress This Year

Jeanne Shaheen
Sen. Jeanne Shaheen D-N.H. is surrounded by supporters to file her campaign paperwork to seek re-election on June 9, 2014 in Concord, N.H. Jim Cole—AP

Despite fewer women running for office in 2014

With women sitting atop half the Senate committees, it may feel like there are plenty of women in Congress, but the sad reality is only 18.9% of Congress is female. But every year, those numbers have been inching up and this cycle the share of women in Congress is set to finally breach 20%, according to new research.

Hitting the unprecedented 1:5 female/male ratio depends on the midterm elections, according to numbers compiled by Rutgers’ University’s Center for American Women in Politics. There are 15 women running for the Senate, 10 Democrats and five Republicans. Four are incumbents, three Democrats—Louisiana’s Mary Landrieu, North Carolina’s Kay Hagan and Jeanne Shaheen of New Hampshire—and one Republican, Susan Collins of Maine.

Seven are running in states with open seats: Republicans Terri Lynne Land of Michigan, Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia and Joni Ernst in Iowa; and Democrats Michelle Nunn in Georgia, Natalie Tennant in West Virginia Montana’s Amanda Curtis and Oklahoma’s Constance Johnson.

Four are challengers: Republican Monica Wehby in Oregon and on the Democratic side Kentucky’s Alison Lundergan Grimes, Maine’s Sheena Bellows and South Carolina’s Joyce Dickerson. But, overall, the number of women running for the Senate is down from the 18 women who ran in 2012.

On the House side, there are 108 Democratic women running and 53 Republicans. For Democrats, that number is down from the 118 Democratic women who ran in 2012. For Republicans, that number is slightly up from the 48 women who ran in 2012. That’s a victory for Republicans who have improved on their ability to get women through their primaries. Overall, however, they recruited 13% less women to run than the 107 GOP women who filed to run in 2012. This year, just 95 did despite a big recruitment push by GOP groups.

On the whole, slight gains are expected in both chambers, meaning the number of overall women in Congress could, finally, breach 20%.

TIME women

A Veteran Campaigner Reflects on 20 Years of Fighting Domestic Abuse

Teen Dating Violence Panel
Esta Soler speaks during the Teen Dating Violence panel at the Rayburn House Office Building on February 28, 2012 in Washington, DC. Kris Connor—Getty Images

Esta Soler, who advocated for the Violence Against Women Act to become law in 1994, talks to TIME about the NFL, rape culture, and how to tackle abuse

Esta Soler, a veteran crusader in the fight to protect women and children from domestic violence, has a saying that “movements are made of moments.” One such moment came 20 years ago, when the media firestorm surrounding the OJ Simpson murder case lent urgency to Congress’s efforts to pass the Violence Against Women Act of 1994. And now, as the U.S. prepares to commemorate two decades since the VAWA’s historic passage, so it is again. At least, so the president of nonprofit Futures Without Violence hopes.

Over 30 years ago, Soler, a leading expert in violence prevention, founded the San-Francisco based organization the Family Violence Project (later renamed Futures Without Violence), which was one of the driving forces behind the passage of the 1994 Violence Against Women Act. Over the years, the organization has led educational efforts, worked with lawmakers, and trained law enforcement on how to better address the issue of domestic abuse. On Tuesday, Soler joined Vice President Biden and many others in commemorating the work that has been done since the VAWA’s passage in 1994.

But the fact that the day’s headlines have been dominated by the dismissal of running back Ray Rice from the Baltimore Ravens for knocking his now-wife unconscious strikes Soler as moment to reflect on unfinished business. “We’re celebrating 20 years since the passage of the act,” Soler tells TIME. “And a lot of good has happened in that time. But this is a stark reminder of how much we still need to do.”

Much has changed in the 20 years since the Violence Against Women Act became law, with incidences of domestic abuse becoming markedly less frequent. Between 1993 and 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence declined by 67%, according to a White House fact sheet. The rate of women being murdered by men in single victim/single offender incidents has also fallen, by 26% between 1996 and 2012, according to a new report from the Violence Policy Center.

That’s partly because there’s a new openness among women and men to address incidences of violence at home. The National Domestic Violence Hotline has received over 3 million calls since 1996, and 92% of callers admit it’s their first call for help. In the late 80s and early 90s, when Soler was working to launch a nationwide campaign using the slogan there’s “no excuse” for abuse, “domestic violence was called a domestic dispute,” she says. “People just excused the behavior.” Passing VAWA, she says, “was a statement that this country and our policymakers were taking the issue of violence against women seriously… For me, that was the main victory.”

But Soler knows there’s work still to be done. For proof, she needn’t look much further than the initial response of the National Football League to Rice’s beating of his wife. Though the running back was released by the Baltimore Ravens following the video leak, he initially received a two-game suspension—a softer punishment than players who have violated drug policies have received. And while two players, the Carolina Panthers’ Greg Hardy and the San Francisco 49ers Ray McDonald have been arrested (and in Hardy’s case, convicted) for domestic violence, both joined their teams on the field last Sunday.

The movement to continue the fight to protect women and children from violence—and more importantly, keep it from happening in the first place—may have found another moment, Soler says. But it’s not enough to be reactive about such incidents. “While it’s important that we have a strong response system in place once something horrible happens, on the other hand it is not just ok for us to wait for something to happen,” says Soler. “We need to figure out more effectively how to stop this. And be super aggressive about that.”

In an interview with TIME ahead of the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, which is coming up on Sept. 13, Soler laid out 6 things the nation can do right now to address the issue.

Confront College Sexual Assault

“I’m an optimist, and I do believe that violence is learned and you can unlearn it. The fact that we’ve been able to have a real impact on the problem [of domestic abuse] is really significant. The moment today is the crisis we now find ourselves facing on our college campuses. There’s an epidemic of sexual assault on our college campuses. The movement about what is happening is the activism—the student activists of today that are grappling with this problem. Demanding action, demanding better responses to cases once they happen. But also not waiting for a rape to happen. That’s what we need to do now with the Violence Against Women Act, really extending to a programmatic response so that our college campuses are safe.

Bring Young People into the Equation

The Violence Against Women Act and a lot of the work that we’ve done has focused on adults. We need to do a better job for our young people. Most of what we’ve done over the last 25 years is building shelters and rape crisis centers and changing the way our law enforcement and our judiciary responds to these issues, but at the end of the day we’ve got to start much earlier. We’ve got to start with our middle school and our high school kids and give them the tools so that they can have healthy relationships, so that they can go to college and not worry about the fear that they’re going to get raped or sexually abused. And we have to heal our kids. So many kids are still growing up in homes and neighborhoods where they’re seeing violence. You learn violence; it becomes a pattern. We have to interrupt it.

Stand Up to Rape Culture

There’s a crisis of social norms that’s allowing this really bad behavior to exist, but I am somebody who really believes that a cultural norm—if it’s addressed appropriately and comprehensively—can be shifted. There are programs out there that work and we need to make sure that every campus has it. That people understand what consent is. That people understand that it’s not ok no matter what state anyone is in to do this—that the behavior is bad. We have to reintroduce that. We have to take the rape culture down, and I think we can do it. But we can’t do it by having one 15-minute session during orientation week on the first week somebody arrives on college campus. That doesn’t work.

Bring Men into the Conversation

We’ve been a driver of bringing men into this conversation, starting in the late ’90s. After doing some market research, we realized that when we talked to men, men felt divided and not guided into our conversations. The language we used was basically saying you’re either a perpetrator or a perpetrator in waiting as opposed to somebody who is not and also wants to do something right about this. So that’s when we created a national campaign called “coaching into men,” that ended up being a program later that showed conversation men could have with their sons and their daughters about the issue. In partnership with the National High School Athletic Coaches Association we created a program to really deal with the culture of bad relationships, but more importantly find ways to give young men the tools to create healthy relationships. So that when they see something bad they feel that they have the power and the strength to say, stop it. It’s not ok.

Hold Sports Organizations Accountable

It’s important that, like every workforce, every institution that has these problems [be it] the NFL [or] the NBA, grapples with the problem of violence against women in a highly responsible way. Players are seen as role models for the next generation. Our athletes are revered in our society and it’s really important that we give them the tools so that they don’t get in trouble. At this point I think the athletic associations are really grappling with these issues, particularly with the recent incident with Ray Rice and the NFL. The NFL needs a comprehensive program to address violence.

Keep Talking About It

Before the 1980s, we did a count. There were about 150 articles in major newspapers about the issue of domestic violence. In the decades of the 2000s, there were over 7,000. Yes, there are challenges—there are always going to be challenges—but we have support in so many different corners where people are actually trying to figure out how to deal with this. The story isn’t buried somewhere, it’s on the front page. Schools are talking about it. Congress is addressing it. The White House is acting on it. At the end of the day, this isn’t just about what government does. Governmental actions are critical, but you need the private sector and private persons to really push things through.

 

 

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