Today is the 25th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act.
Washington, D.C. – Twenty-five years ago today, our nation enshrined in our laws historic protections for survivors of gender-based violence. Since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first passed, it has expanded to fund programs and services — law enforcement, attorneys, victim advocates, shelters, hotlines, and prevention programming — that combat the devastating crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, and save countless lives.
VAWA sparked a cultural shift that made the voices of survivors audible; finally, they were heard, and believed.
Since 1994, Congress has reauthorized the law by a bipartisan vote three times, each time with important improvements to expand services and further protect survivors. This year’s bill is no different: The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585) strengthened survivors’ access to housing, ensured that abusers cannot access guns, closed loopholes to allow Tribal courts to prosecute non-native perpetrators of sexual assault, and increased prevention funding. But, while H.R. 1585 passed the House with bipartisan support, it has stalled in the Senate.
For decades JWI has worked to change a culture of violence against women – a national problem that needs national solutions. It is squarely the responsibility of our government to act; to act quickly; and to act in the best interest of the millions of women who suffer from violence in our country.
Our elected officials must stop posturing and do their jobs. It’s time for the Senate to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R. 1585).
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, inspiring civic participation and community engagement, and engaging men as allies in ending gender-based violence. JWI is a Steering Committee member of the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence and convenes the Interfaith Coalition Against Domestic and Sexual Violence and the Clergy Task Force on Domestic and Sexual Abuse in the Jewish Community.
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