Vote Run Lead Statement on Violence Against Women Elected Leaders

Standing in Solidarity with Governor Gretchen Whitmer, Congresswoman Ilhan Omar, and the countless other women who receive threats against their personal well-being as they continue to serve and lead their communities.

Vote Run Lead stands in solidarity with the fierce elected women leaders who, despite violent threats, continue to serve and uplift their communities. We commend their fortitude and resilience in the face of such adversity. You are American heroes. 

Last week we learned of a plot to detonate an explosive, kidnap, and “try” the Governor of Michigan, Gretchen Whitmer, who is the second female governor of the state and one of only 44 female governors ever elected in American history. (She remains steadfastly resilient.) While horrific, the threat of violence against women leaders is not new. 

Around the world, female politicians and their families regularly face kidnapping, rape, and death threats. Violence against women in politics presents a major barrier to achieving equal representation for women in government, in the United States, and across the globe. A United Nations study found “that more than 60 percent of women do not participate in politics due to fear of violence.”

Here in the United States Congresswoman Ilhan Omar has been constantly and continually
 threatened with physical assault and death. These threats are highly visible (to "put a bullet" through her skull) and incited from the highest levels. Like her, a new young woman of color leader, the other members of “The Squad” - Congresswomen Ayanna Pressely, Rashida Tlaib and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez - have all received brutal attacks on social media, in letters and voice messages, from people threatening to infect them with deadly diseases to assault, rape, hang, and shoot them. We know of countless women, from all political parties, who are threatened at the city, state, and federal levels,online and in-person.We recognize the vileness and frequency of threats directed towards Black women, Indigenous women, women of color, and LGBTQIA leaders is especially alarming.

The rise in violence against women in power in the United States is deeply connected to the rise of extremist groups tied to white supremacy and patriarchyThis is a form of gender-based violence that is all too familiar to every woman, and it seeks to suppress women’s enthusiasm for and likelihood to run for public office. Make no mistake, critique and dissent have always been part and parcel of being a leader, but the escalating viciousness displayed in recent attacks is unprecedented. They are a threat not only to the women they are directed at and the growing power they represent, but also to our very democracy. This must end now. 

Vote Run Lead will work everyday to make sure women can thrive as leaders and that we all receive the benefit of their leadership.

Please stay tuned for ways that you can take action to combat this and stand in solidarity in the weeks to come.