While debating a bill on the Colorado house floor that would ban all firearms from Colorado university campuses, freshman lawmaker Joe Salazar (D-Thorton) suggested female college students should not have guns because they may shoot a non-rapist due to an irrational fear of being raped. In his remarks in favor of the campus gun ban, Salazar noted that women on college campuses have other methods of protection against assault, including call boxes and whistles.
"And you don't know if you feel like you're gonna be raped, or if you feel like someone's been following you around or if you feel like you're in trouble when you may actually not be, that you pop out that gun and you pop... pop a round at somebody," Salazar said, indicating he believes young women should not have the right to self defense with a firearm because they may make careless decisions when they fear being sexually assaulted.
Only after the media caught on to Salazar's off-putting comments on women and rape did he issue a statement responding to the criticism. He did not apologize for the comments themselves, but said he was sorry if his comments "offended anyone".
Salazar then resorted to racial stereotypes to describe the image he believed critics of his remarks were painting of him, saying he isn't a "boorish, macho, Neanderthal Latino."
Rep. Mark Ferrandino, the newly elected Speaker of the Colorado House, issued a statement late Monday evening that defended Salazar on all points. Ferrandino's staff claimed the reason for the delay was due to the fact that the Speaker was at home, sick. Ferrandino insisted Salazar's comments were taken "out of context" and that what Salazar actually meant when he spoke of call boxes, whistles, and imaginary rape was that allowing firearms on college campuses would not reduce violence or protect students.
However, recently reported data show a sharp downward trend in forcible and non-forcible sex offenses at Colorado State University beginning in 2003 -- the same year the university agreed to allow the concealed carry of properly permitted handguns on its campuses.
Salazar also sat on the committee that voted down Jessica's Law in Colorado last week, a measure designed to protect potential victims of violent sex crimes or those in imminent danger and to help prevent future offenses by sex offenders. Salazar cast his vote against the bill along with the other six Democrats on the committee.
Over the course of his campaign in the the 2012 election cycle, Joe Salazar received funding from a diverse range of fellow Democrats, labor unions, and other liberal organizations.
Over a dozen different union groups threw their support behind Salazar, accounting for his campaign's top donations, along with diversity groups such as One Colorado and Colorado WINS.
Salazar's 2012 campaign chest also included large financial contributions from the Mark Ferrandino Leadership Fund, Jared Polis, Pat Stryker, and other current lawmakers. Federico Pena, a venture capitalist and co-chair for Obama's reelection campaign, maxed out his legal limit for personal donations to Salazar. Pena's wife and other family members also contributed after Federico had given the maximum permitted under law.
Of all of these individuals and groups, not one has publicly rebuked or criticized Rep. Joe Salazar for any of his misogynistic comments.
Below is a statement from Colorado Women’s Alliance Director, Debbie Brown:
“Representative Salazar’s comments trivializing the danger of women on college campuses as emotionally speculative as reason to restrict their ability to protect themselves is laughable. Tips like use a ballpoint pen, or pee on yourself to detract a would-be rapist, give all the power to the rapist. Competent, trained women should have the ability to defend themselves, not just because they may have a ‘fear’ of getting raped, but because they face very real dangers.
Further, Speaker Ferrandino's defense of Rep. Joe Salazar's extreme comments about women's inability to act rationally when they feel threatened is offensive to women everywhere. Women have the ability to assess a threat and act to protect themselves from bodily harm. Colorado's women deserve better than a House Speaker who doubles down on offensive comments and a Representative who undermines women's ability to protect themselves from danger.
Colorado Women’s Alliance calls on both representative Salazar and Speaker Ferrandino to apologize for their offensive comments.”
About Colorado Women’s Alliance
Colorado Women’s Alliance supports research, education, and advocacy in areas of concern to women voters. The organization views the common concerns among all women as providing high-quality education to all children, protecting seniors, creating economic vitality, preserving safety and quality of life, and providing affordable health care. In addition to creating alliances and coalitions among women, Colorado Women’s Alliance will promote and educate women on issues and candidates, and conduct ongoing research on the values and concerns of women.
This post was orginially featured at Media Trackers Colorado.