Remember when some issues in Congress were exempt from political football — even in an election year? That used to be the case with the Violence Against Women Act. Until now.
This week the Senate is taking up the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the first U.S. federal law that acknowledged domestic violence and sexual assault as crimes. Though it’s a bipartisan bill with 61 cosponsors, we’re facing an uphill battle to get it passed in the current Senate.
Why? Because this bill strengthens protections for those experiencing violence at the hands of a same-sex partner, as well as for immigrants and Native American women. Given the particular needs of these communities, the bill’s focus on these women makes a lot of sense. But some Senators would rather leave these women behind. It’s time to jam the phones on Capitol Hill! Please call your Senators to make sure they do the right thing and reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. Here is exactly what you have to do to take action:
- Call (202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Senator’s office. Since you have two Senators, remember to call twice! To look up your Senator’s name and direct line, please check this website.
- When you get someone on the phone, please read this sample script: My name is _____ and I’m a constituent. I’m calling to urge Senator ______ to support the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, S. 1925. I urge Senator _____ to keep all of the critical provisions, including those protections for Native American women, immigrants, and LGBT victims, in the bill.
First enacted in 1994 (and since reauthorized twice), VAWA provides federal resources to encourage community-coordinated responses to combating violence. This new version of VAWA streamlines programs to improve effectiveness, increases accountability to ensure that all victims and survivors receive the greatest benefit, strengthens protections against housing discrimination faced by victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and provides critical improvements to respond to the unmet needs of communities across the country. In particular, S. 1925 addresses the particular needs of those experiencing violence at the hands of a same-sex partner, as well as for immigrants and Native American women.
Whether it’s an election year of not, the Violence Against Women Act is something that all Members of Congress should support. Make sure your Senators hear from you — please call them today.