Sometime this week the United States Senate will again vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). On this Mobilize Monday I’m asking all of you to call your Senator and let him or her know that you expect them to vote to pass this important legislation!
The Violence Against Women Act of 2013, introduced by Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy, is intended to provide broad protections for women that are victims of domestic and other forms of violence. The VAWA helps women who are victims of violence by:
- Holding rapists accountable for their crimes
- Not requiring victims of rape to pay the cost of their exams or domestic violence victims to pay for serving a protection order
- Recognizing protection orders in all states, tribes and jurisdictions—regardless of where the order was first created
- Providing training funds to help police officers, prosecutors, victim advocates and judges better respond to women
“A victim is a victim is a victim. We should stop setting up standards that say we will have one standard of law enforcement for one group of victims but not for another,” Leahy said to applause. “This is going to be our first priority this year.” Patrick Leahy as cited in the Huffington Post.
The most recent version of the bill also adds protections for members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community and Native Americans. Why is VAWA so important? Did You Know?
- One in every four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.
- An estimated 1.3 million women are victims of physical assault by an intimate partner each year.
- 85% of domestic violence victims are women.
- Historically, females have been most often victimized by someone they knew.
- Females who are 20-24 years of age are at the greatest risk of nonfatal intimate partner violence.
- Most cases of domestic violence are never reported to the police.
Here Are Three Things You Can Do to Support Sisters Who Are Victims of Violence
1. Call your Senators TODAY and let them know you want them to vote to pass the Violence Against Women Act of 2013. Click here to find your Senators phone numbers. Below is a script from our folks at the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women. Please make these two phone calls TODAY!
I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
I urge Senator____ to co-sponsor S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act and to oppose weakening, harmful or non-germane amendments. The bill could come to the Senate floor in a matter of days.
Thank you and I look forward to hearing that the Senator is a co-sponsor and supporter.
2. Tweet your support for the Violence Against Women Act of 2013 using the hashtags #ReauthorizeVAWA, #VAWA4all and #VAWA. You can start now, but be sure to join the Twitter Chat sponsored by the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women on February 11th.
3. If you know a Sister that is being victimized or abused, please reach out and help! She can find support at the National Domestic Violence Hotline.
Too many Sisters are suffering and silent—lend your voices to help them TODAY!