Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act
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When I was in high school, I was verbally and sexually abused by members of my family. At 16, I finally gathered enough courage to leave. I was terrified I would not survive and that my abusers would follow me.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) allowed me to get a restraining order, which I believe saved my life. But the VAWA — which provides critical services to women across the country — continues to be *temporarily* renewed at each spending bill deadline, but Congress still has not fully reauthorized the bill. The next deadline is December 21st.
Will you add your name now to tell the House Judiciary Committee that they must vote to fully reauthorize the VAWA?
When I went into the courtroom and told my story to the judge, I was granted a fully enforceable protective order against the abusive members of my family. If they came near me, they would be arrested. The people who had victimized me for my entire life were no longer above the law. With one piece of paper, the government gave me the first step in getting my life and my freedom back.
Before the VAWA, the type of access, help and fully enforceable document I was granted simply did not exist. The legislation helps ensure victims who come looking for help are listened to, believed, and given the protection they need to sleep at night and thrive in a life free of their abuser.
More often than not, sexual assault victims are not treated as victims. We are treated the opposite — like we did something wrong. We are cross-examined even though we are not on trial. We are doubted first — not believed. We are mocked for our lack of memory, nerves, and PTSD. Rarely are we offered help, assistance, or simply asked if we are OK. The first time this ever changed for me was with my experience seeking a protective order.
The legislation passed by the VAWA is helping to bridge the gap between victims and law enforcement; making it easier for them to understand what victims go through and help them accordingly, obtain the resources they need to help, and guarantee the protections that victims deserve and desperately need. Don’t let our country take such a drastic step backward.
We have less than three weeks until the next deadline. Call your reps. Demand this legislation be fully reauthorized. Survivor’s protection is not a bargaining chip. Sign this petition to let your representatives know you support survivors and want to make sure they can rely on the protections and resources granted to them in the VAWA.
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