Interfaith Coalition Calls for Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Acts
Contact: Meredith Jacobs, (d) 202-464-4803//(c) 301-529-8591, [email protected]
Washington, D.C. – The Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (IC), comprising nearly 40 organizations representing thousands of people of Jewish, Muslim, Christian, and Baha’i faiths, calls for the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). These disparate voices come together in a unique showing of solidarity to proclaim that gender-based violence has no place in our faith traditions.
Since its initial passage in 1994, and subsequent reauthorizations in 2000, 2005, and 2013, VAWA has dramatically enhanced and improved our nation’s response to violence against women. It is essential in the funding of programs and services that survivors rely on every day.
“This new reauthorization begins to fill in the gaps exposed in previous legislative reauthorizations,” said Lori Weinstein, CEO of JWI. The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 supports the funding of needed gender-based violence prevention programming, closes Tribal and firearms loopholes, and strengthens public housing protections for survivors.
“The last reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act was a significant win for Native women,” explained Diane Randall, executive secretary of the Friends Committee on National Legislation. “We hope that Congress continues to address the crisis of violence against Native women by supporting this important legislation.”
Today, members of the Interfaith Coalition will march through the halls of Congress to deliver letters asking representatives to support the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, which is scheduled to drop later this morning. “As people of faith, we affirm the right of every person to live free from domestic violence,” said Weinstein.
“As Christians committed to supporting and uplifting the most vulnerable in our communities, we strongly support the Violence Against Women Act. It is imperative that Congress acts swiftly to not only reauthorize VAWA, but expand its scope,” said Rev. Adam Taylor, executive director of Sojourners. “In 1 Corinthians 12: 20-26, the Apostle Paul reminds us that we are all one body with many members. And ‘if one member suffers, all suffer together with it; if one member is honored, all rejoice together with it.’ Our body and our communities are suffering when one in four women experience domestic violence in their lifetime. However, a bold and expanded VAWA would enable us to better combat gender-based violence and make it a sin of the past.”
“It is critical to hear from a united faith voice supporting legislation that works to end violence against women,” said Weinstein. “Domestic violence survivors often turn to their religious leaders and houses of worship for support, guidance, and refuge during times of abuse.” JWI convened the first-of-its-kind Interfaith Coalition in 2007 to unite the collective energies and visions of faith communities to advance federal domestic violence legislation. Today, the Coalition also works to advocate for legislation that addresses sexual violence, international violence against women, funding for anti-gender based violence programs, and a variety of other issues.
Jewish Women International (JWI) is the leading Jewish organization working to empower women and girls by ensuring and protecting their physical safety and economic security, promoting and celebrating inter-generational leadership, and inspiring civic participation and community engagement. Inspired by our legacy of progressive women’s leadership and guided by our Jewish values, JWI works to ensure that all women and girls thrive in healthy relationships, control their financial futures and realize the full potential of their personal strength.
Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence (IC) is composed of 40 national faith organizations that come together to advocate for national legislation and public policies that protect all people from domestic and sexual violence, with particular concern for women and families. As a national coalition representing millions of congregants and constituents from diverse religious communities, our moral, religious and ethical commitments guide our work in ending violence against women.