Years ago, women that experienced domestic violence had few places to turn. Many people resisted acknowledging violence because they didn’t want to break up families. There were few services that existed for women that were seeking support. Prior to 1994, the U.S. government didn’t even recognize domestic violence as a federal crime.
Earlier this week, Vice President Biden hosted a White House event to highlight the need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was originally passed in 1994, and has been reauthorized twice since then. Its never been reauthorized with this much fighting, but this time is different. Vice President Biden said, “It’s bad enough that we’re even debating this issue. But imagine what message this would send to the women and girls of this nation and around the world if we didn’t reauthorize this bill. Imagine the signal it would send to our mothers and our daughters that they are not entitled to be free of abuse.”
Today, the national hotline for domestic violence receives more than 23,000 calls every month! It takes enormous courage to even dial that number. Domestic Violence doesn't distinguish if you're rich or poor, black or white, latino, native-american, gay or straight. We must all become advocates and take a stand.
This bill was never a partisan issue. But now it is. Now a law that has clearly been effective in saving lives, in preventing violence, in holding offenders accountable, is in question. The bill is expected to come to the Senate floor this week. It’s hard to believe that in this day and age, it’s even being debated.