Urge Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act

In the United States, nearly 1 in 3 women and 1 in 6 men will survive some type of sexual assault or violence in their lifetime. Nearly 20 people are physically abused by an intimate partner every minute. This amounts to a staggering 10 million individuals each year. 

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was enacted to address this scourge of gender-based violence. VAWA is the United States’ most comprehensive resource for survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA is up for reauthorization every five years, but Congress let the bill lapse in December 2018. 

On International Women's Day 2021, Representatives Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX-18) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-1) introduced a bipartisan bill to reauthorize and improve this critical, lifesaving legislation. The House of Representatives passed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 1620) with bipartisan support on March 17, 2021. Now it is up to the Senate to act. 

Urge your senators to pass a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act that strengthens the United States' commitment to protecting all survivors of gender-based violence.

Background:

VAWA has been renewed with bipartisan support three times since its original authorization in 1994. Each reauthorization provides a new opportunity to enhance these safeguards and ensure all survivors of gender-based violence have access to the resources and protections they need.

Despite a strong bipartisan passage in the House, Congress failed to reauthorize VAWA in the 116th Congress, leaving funding for key anti-domestic violence and anti-sexual violence programs in flux.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2021 (H.R. 1620) would both reauthorize VAWA and provide key enhancements including:

  • increasing funding for the Rape Prevention & Education Program;
  • promoting safety for victims of violence on tribal lands by ending impunity for non-Native perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse co-occurring with domestic violence, stalking, sex trafficking, and assaults on tribal lands; 
  • increased protections for immigrant survivors;
  • closing firearms loopholes to protect against all forms of intimate partner violence; and
  • strengthening public housing protections for survivors;

Thank the House of Representatives for passing the Urge Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 20121 (H.R. 1620), and urge the Senate to follow the House's lead by passing a VAWA that ensures all survivors have the protections they deserve.

Jewish Values:

The Mishnah teaches, “One who injures another person is liable on five counts (that is, responsible for paying for five factors): for the injury itself, for pain, for healing, for loss of time, and for embarrassment” (Bava Kamma 8:1). This multidimensional understanding of personal injury addresses the insidious and pervasive nature of physical and sexual violence, and the way that these displays of violence have repercussions far greater than the act itself.

For More Information:

For more information on the Violence Against Women Act, visit the RAC’s Gender-Based Violence page or contact Ally Karpel.

This action alert is part of a partnership between the RAC and Women of Reform Judaism. By signing this alert you will be added to the Women of Reform Judaism (WRJ) advocacy email lists to be kept up-to-date on these issues.

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