Congress’ Opportunity to Protect All Women From Violence—We Say, Yes!
On January 21, 2013, the National Mall in Washington DC was packed with thousands of eager people who witnessed President Barack Obama get sworn in for his second term. During his speech, President Obama reminded us of our “vow to move forward together” on the challenges we face together as a country. In the days immediately following, the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives announced that the two chambers were jointly reintroducing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a law that since 1994 has sent the message that violence against women is criminal and helped to ensure that the millions of women who experience domestic and sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking receive the protection and support that they need.
VAWA fell prey to partisan politics in the 112th Congress but today, the new Congress must seize this opportunity to reaffirm and uphold the right of all women to a violence-free life by reauthorizing Violence Against Women Act with provisions extending protections to Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women, and LGBT individuals. The U.S. Senate did its part and seized this opportunity by passing a bipartisan and inclusive VAWA on February 12, 2013. Now is the time for the House to do the same; support and pass an inclusive VAWA that includes all communities.
The new Congress is presented with the opportunity of a new start to expand and solidify the United States’ commitment to ensuring that all individuals are treated equally. The reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is one step closer to realizing the fundamental principles the United States stands upon. The United States can and must move forward together to end violence against all women once and for all.