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Tell the Senate to Support the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021!
On March 8th, Rep. Shelia Jackson Lee introduced H.R. 1620the “Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021” (VAWA), in the House of Representatives with bipartisan support. This is critical legislation that “reauthorizes through FY2026 programs and activities under the Violence Against Women Act that seek to prevent and respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.” The bill also “authorizes new programs, makes changes to federal firearms laws and establishes new protections to promote housing stability and economic security for victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking.” VAWA reauthorization passed the House of Representatives on March 17th but has yet to be introduced in the Senate.

VAWA is historic legislation passed into law in 1994 to respond to domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking. VAWA was last reauthorized in 2013. This authorization expired in 2018. Last Congress, the House passed a bipartisan reauthorization, but the Senate failed to take it up.

The Senate must act and pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021!

Violence against women is a global public health crisis. According to the World Health Organization, 1 in 3 women worldwide experience physical or sexual violence by an intimate partner or sexual violence from a non-partner. In the United States, 1 in 4 women experiences physical or sexual violence by intimate partners. Additionally, more than 55 percent of female homicides in the U.S. are committed by intimate partners. During the COVID-19 pandemic, women have had increased exposure to abusive partners. In Puerto Rico, in a span of four weeks (from September 2020 to October 2020), 17 female homicides occurred. Gender-based violence in Puerto Rico is so prevalent that this past January, Puerto Rico’s governor, Pedro Pierluisi, issued a State of Emergency in response. We must fight back against this rampant violence and demand that the Senate pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021!

The 2021 Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization of 2021 will close the “boyfriend loophole” by expanding the definition of who is affected by existing gun prohibitions to include dating partners. It will grant tribal courts new authority to prosecute non-Indians for sex trafficking, sexual violence, and stalking. It also offers expanded protections for LGBTQIA+ domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. The 2013 VAWA reauthorization expanded a civil rights provision prohibiting discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, or disability in providing help. The 2021 reauthorization will create grants and services dedicated to supporting LGBTQIA+ domestic violence and sexual assault survivors. 

This comes at a critical time as violence against trans people, particularly trans women, is steadily increasing. According to a 2015 survey, 47 percent of transgender people reported experiencing intimate partner violence and sexual assault. Fifty-three percent of Black transgender people reported experiencing intimate partner violence.

These horrific acts of senseless violence must end. Violence against women is a disease that bleeds through the veins of our country. As people of faith, we must speak up and hold our nation’s leaders accountable for addressing this crisis!

Contact Your Senator and Tell Them to Pass the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization Act of 2021!

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