The Feminist Majority and its leaders have been fighting for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) since the early 1990s and was a part of the team that worked with then Senator Joe Biden and his staff on the original Violence against Women Act of 1994. The VAWA must be reauthorized about every five years. Every time the Act has been reauthorized it has been made stronger and includes more groupings of women. The 2013 Act that took about three years to pass extended federal protections and services to immigrant women, to Native Americans, to campus students, and to the LGBT individuals.

The Violence Against Women Act of 2013 ( S. 1925, H.R. 4870)

The House and Senate passed very different versions of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The Feminist Majority strongly supported along with its coalition partners the inclusive bill passed by the Senate with a bipartisan vote. The inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization of 2013 was passed on March 3, 2013 and signed into law by President Obama. Currently pending is the Reauthorization Act of 2018.

The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act passed by the Senate is an inclusive bill that has provisions to prevent violence and protections and services for all survivors. The House bill eliminated critical provisions for some of the most vulnerable populations included in the Senate’s bipartisan bill: increased protections against violence on college campuses; protections for immigrant and Native American women; and services for LGBT survivors.

The Feminist Majority worked with a broad coalition of advocacy organizations to urge the House to pass the Senate bill.

The House version, introduced by Representatives Eric Cantor (R-VA) and Sandy Adams (R-FL) eliminated major provisions that were included in the bipartisan Senate bill including increasing protections against violence on college campuses and protections for immigrant and Native American women and the LGBT community. Final passage of VAWA reauthorization remained stalled as advocates, including the Feminist Majority push for the House to pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate bill. Finally the bill passed and signed into law.

Violence Against Women Act of 2018

Women’s rights advocates are now working on the Reauthorization of VAWA of 2018. Most experts believe it will not move forward until after the midterm elections of 2018.