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Statement by Kafi Rouse, Vice President, Public Relations & Marketing, Planned Parenthood of Southern New England

“Planned Parenthood of Southern New England believes that each woman should have full autonomy over her own body and her own life—both in access to health care and in the ability to live and work in safe communities free of violence and fear. 

“Sexual harassment in any workplace is unacceptable. For too long, women have had to suffer the emotional, mental, and physical harm that comes from workplace sexual harassment; women have been denied career advancement opportunities, been subject to discrimination and humiliation, and forced to endure dangerous work environments. Every worker deserves to feel safe, secure and supported while on the job.

“Officer Kelly Baerga recently filed a sexual harassment claim against the Hartford Police Department. Officer Baerga, a recruitment officer and the department’s LGBTQ+ liaison, has been forced to work in a hostile environment that has persisted despite the investigation into her claim. This is an alarming example of the threats faced by women and employees from marginalized communities in the workplace.

“The Hartford Police Department must prioritize the safety of every employee to better protect and serve the public. Employers, including public sector institutions, must guarantee a workplace free from sexual harassment and violence where people are held accountable for their behavior.  We stand with community activists, women and LGBTQ+ people who demand accountability from the City of Hartford to address this toxic culture of misogyny and homophobia.

“We will continue to stand with victims of sexual harassment and work with our supporters to build the world we want to see—one where everyone has the freedom to control their own bodies and their own futures.”