Save VAWA! Defeat House Republican Leadership’s Substitute – Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President

The Senate, by a wide margin of 78-22, passed a strong inclusive bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA). House Republican Leadership have introduced a substitute bill that guts inclusive protections for some of the most vulnerable victims contained in the Senate-passed bill. Extremely baffling, the House substitute weakens the authority of the Office of the Violence Against Women and thereby threatens its effectiveness in both assisting victims and preventing violence.

Shockingly, the House Republican Leadership has refused to include groundbreaking provisions in the Senate bill that address sexual and intimate partner violence on our college campuses in their substitute. With an estimated 20% to 25% of college women experiencing rape or attempted rape during their college years according to a National Institute of Justice Survey[1], it is unfathomable why the Senate provisions to fight campus violence have been removed from the House substitute. The bipartisan Senate VAWA wisely provided for the collection and reporting of instances of dating violence, sexual assault and stalking; dissemination of information on how to report incidents; and education, prevention and response programs.

In addition, critical protections for LGBT and Native American victims were intentionally omitted from the House substitute. It is unconscionable that these provisions in the bipartisan Senate bill were cut by the House Leadership. Violence is Violence no matter who the victim. Congress must not decide to withhold protections from some!

The House must vote no on the weakened House substitute and pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate VAWA, stand for all survivors of violence, and continue the life-saving work to reduce violence against women.



[1] Fisher, B. S., Cullen, F. T., & Turner, M. G. (2000, December). The Sexual Victimization of College Women. Washington, DC: National Institute of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics.

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