Defend the Violence Against Women Act
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“Nothing about my story will shock you. There is nothing here that hasn’t been said.
Like too many women, I was raped. Like too many women, my pride, my sense of safety and dignity was taken, stripped away, against my will.
While my story may be unique, the feeling of shame, isolation and guilt resounds through my experience as it resounds through every other victim’s.
In fact, people may look at me, as they look at other victims, and think ‘she looks fine, what sort of help does she need’? ‘She’s moved on; she’s past it, she’s okay.’
But the truth is: I am not fine. I am not okay. I have most certainly not moved on. My rapes were over ten years ago and I still suffer from panic attacks and heavy anxiety.
Victims of rape, of violence, of stalking, have scars far beyond what anyone can see. A victim’s pain begins at their rape, but it does not end there.
We need victim support programs. We need special training for police officers. We need rape crisis centers that provide meaningful safe havens. And we need the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).”
These are the words of Rachel, a survivor of rape. She is sharing her story to highlight the critical need for VAWA--landmark, bipartisan legislation that must be reauthorized by a vote of Congress in 2018.
At a time when more survivors of violence are speaking out than ever before, it's clear we need to preserve the protections and vital services of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
VAWA enforcement and funding fall under the purview of the US Department of Justice. Attorney General Jeff Sessions oversees that department. During his time as Senator, Sessions voted against the 2013 reauthorization of VAWA.
There are genuine concerns that the issue of violence against women will be diminished on Trump's watch. We can't let this happen.
VAWA has been a lifeline for survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence, covering everything from law enforcement training for working with rape victims, to visas for immigrant women to flee their abusers, to nondiscrimination protections for LGBT survivors of violence, to protections for Native American women victims of violence. The programs funded by VAWA support women of all races, ages, sexual orientations, and gender identities.
In the 20 years since VAWA's passage, sexual violence has declined, more survivors are getting the help they need, and the social stigmas associated with surviving sexual violence or domestic abuse are being torn down. We are making progress. We can’t stop now.
Please, we ask that you sign our petition to President Trump and Congress to demand they continue to fully fund a strong VAWA, H.R. 6545. We must act NOW, and we need your help! Women’s lives depend on it.
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