Today the U.S. House of Representatives voted 263-158  to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This 2019 VAWA reauthorization bill is the first to close the so-called “boyfriend loophole,” making stalkers and current or former dating partners convicted of domestic violence subject to the same gun bans as abusers who are married to, live with, or are parents with survivors.

“I am pleased that the U.S. House has reauthorized VAWA, a bill I have advocated for and fought to improve for over 25 years,” said Eleanor Smeal, president of the Feminist Majority. “This bill takes the critical step of closing the “boyfriend loophole,” which kept firearms in the possession of dangerous convicted abusers, threatening the lives of countless survivors.”

Smeal continued, “But our work is far from over. Unfortunately, the funding allocated in this bill is still not sufficient enough to support all of the domestic and sexual violence resources needed in the United States. Too many women still lose their jobs because of intimate partner violence. Half of women experiencing homelessness report that intimate partner violence is the immediate cause. Students at schools across the country are still fighting for fair treatment when they courageously report sexual assault.”

Smeal concluded, “There is a long way to go to ending sexual and intimate partner violence in this country, and VAWA is an important foundation. It is time for the Senate to follow the House’s lead and finally reauthorize VAWA.”