The Indefensible Demise of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)

women protest violence against women
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As the clock counted down the few remaining minutes of the 112th Congress, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) failed to reach the finish line in a politically and ideologically divided Congress. Since 1994, VAWA has ensured that millions of women who are experiencing domestic and sexual violence, dating violence, and stalking receive the protection and support that they need through legal and social services.  After 18 years of bipartisan support, Congress’s failure to reauthorize VAWA is an outrageous and indefensible roadblock to the goal of ending violence against women and fulfilling the right of all women to live lives free of intimidation and violence.

Inexcusably, House Republican leaders’ opposition to full inclusion of all at-risk communities eventually doomed the legislation.  Congress’s inability to act means that millions of women and men will be left without access to some of the critical resources and protections contained in VAWA reauthorization.

New provisions that provided crucial protections and support for Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women, and members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community were 3 critical reasons why it was so imperative for Congress to reauthorize VAWA.

Congress missed a momentous opportunity to stand up for the safety of all women. By failing to support an inclusive VAWA, lawmakers have allowed the prevention of violence against women to fall prey to partisan politics.

We must hold the new Congress accountable for this failure and continue to fight to pass an inclusive VAWA in 2013 that protects everyone; including Native American and Alaska Native women, immigrant women, and LGBT individuals. Because all women, not just some, have the right to a life free from violence.

Take action by calling the U.S. Capitol switchboard at (202) 224-3121 and telling your Member of Congress to support an inclusive VAWA.