Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act Is Law!
AAUW was fortunate enough to be invited to attend an incredible celebration Thursday — the signing ceremony for the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). Advocates and leaders gathered in the auditorium of the Department of the Interior for the joyful event, and I was there!
Vice President Joe Biden spoke passionately about his lifelong advocacy to end domestic violence and his leadership in passing both the original 1994 law and this reauthorization. I cheered loudly when he specifically mentioned that campuses would be safer thanks to VAWA reauthorization. He’s right, and AAUW is ecstatic that much of the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination Act was included in VAWA and is now law.
President Barack Obama spotlighted the improvements that the updated bill puts in place, including clear nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, jurisdiction for tribal governments to help survivors who are part of their communities, and improvements to our current human trafficking laws.
The VAWA reauthorization is monumental. It takes major strides — not just baby steps — toward ending domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence, and stalking against women and men. The law insists that everybody counts and that we must do more to ensure everyone’s safety. It will take me a while to process all we have achieved in seeing this bill signed into law, but I absolutely know we did it because we stood together. All the survivors and advocates touched by this bill were persistent over a long two years and were clear about how vital all the included protections are, and AAUW members took inspiring action in support of VAWA.
President Obama said yesterday, “[Today is] about our commitment as a country to address this problem — in every corner of America, every community, every town, every big city — as long as it takes.” I couldn’t agree more.