Rick Perry suggests connection between fossil fuels and preventing sexual assault

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The social media backlash was swift and brutal after Energy Secretary Rick Perry today suggested that fossil fuels would play a "positive role" in preventing sexual assault in Africa.

In response on Thursday, Michael Brune, executive director of the environmental non-profit the Sierra Club, released a statement criticizing Perry for linking fossil fuels with sexual assault and calling on him to resign his post.

Speaking during an event hosted by NBC News and Axios in Washington, Mr. Perry spoke about his recent trip to Africa and how fossil fuels are needed to bring electricity to remote villages there.

At an event on Thursday morning, Perry said fossil fuels will be important for electrifying parts of Africa, and he said the expansion of energy there can help reduce sexual assaults.

And then he pivoted to discussing sexual assault.

"From the standpoint of how you really affect people's lives, fossil fuels are going to play a role in that".

Humans "have an impact on it", Perry said, but "I still think the science is out on" whether humans cause 100 percent of it, Axios reported.

Rick Perry now heads one of the federal departments he once said should be abolished, and it's the very department that he couldn't recall during a presidential campaign debate when he was asked to name the three departments he wanted to shut down.

Women, and particularly women of color, are among some of the most severely impacted by the climate crisis, and it is these same communities that are most at risk of sexual assault.

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