Tell Your Senator to Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
April 24, 2012
The United States Senate this week is expected to vote on the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This landmark piece of legislation provides both local communities and women essential resources to help combat domestic abuse, sexual assault, and stalking.
VAWA – originally approved in 1994, and then reauthorized with bipartisan support in 2000 and 2005 – has been extraordinarily successful. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the number of women killed by an intimate partner fell by roughly 34 percent between 1993 and 2008, while the number of nonfatal violent acts against women by intimate partners decreased by 53 percent. This should come as no surprise: incidents of domestic and sexual violence tend to go down when victims have the ability to access legal representation and protection.
The new version of VAWA both continues and strengthens previously proven measures, but also extends protections to several unprotected populations. For example, it would bar shelters from discriminating against domestic violence victims who are gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgendered. It would also allow battered illegal immigrants easier access to visas, and support Native American tribes in working to protect Native American women from domestic and sexual violence on their private lands.
The Center for Inquiry (CFI) believes these are important expansions. Domestic violence remains a serious problem for women – 1 in 4 will experience it in her life – but also poses serious risks to gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgendered persons, immigrants, and Native Americans. Indeed, the national domestic abuse hotline receives an astounding 23,000 calls per month.
Yet despite its success, some Republicans in the Senate and House are opposing the new version of VAWA on the grounds that the expansions are costly and unnecessary.
It’s up to you to tell them that they are wrong.
The evidence is clear: VAWA works. It helps to prevent domestic and sexual violence, save lives, and hold offenders accountable. Furthermore, no human being should be denied protections against domestic or sexual violence simply because of his or her gender, sexual orientation, or nationality.
Don’t let lawmakers hold up essential legislation due to mere partisan bickering. Stand with CFI and tell your Senator to reauthorize the expanded Violence Against Women Act today!