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 — protections present in the Senate-passed bill. In a baffling move, the House substitute weakens the authority of the Office of Violence Against Women and thereby threatens its effectiveness in both assisting victims and preventing violence.

Shockingly, House Republican leadership have refused to include groundbreaking provisions in the Senate bill that address sexual and intimate partner violence on our college campuses. 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 GOP substitute bill. It is unconscionable that these provisions in the bipartisan Senate bill were cut by House leadership. Violence is violence, no matter the victim. Congress must not decide to withhold protections from some!

The House must vote no on the weakened House version of VAWA and pass the inclusive, bipartisan Senate version, to take a stand for all survivors of violence and continue the life-saving work of reducing 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.