U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), one day after Senate passage of S.1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA), called on House leaders to approve new protections and critical funding to help victims of domestic violence without delay.
"Now that we've won an overwhelming bipartisan battle in the Senate -- which I was proud to help lead -- we must take this fight to the House and end the epidemic of domestic violence that victimized 54,000 women in Connecticut last year alone," Blumenthal said. "New provisions I proposed will advance the Violence Against Women Act to the new frontier of internet crimes -- helping to stop cyber stalking and cyber harassment or impersonation. We have renewed and strengthened this landmark measure -- but the fight must be redoubled."
Blumenthal was joined by Vanessa Stevens, April Pierce, and Lisa Fine, all survivors of abuse, who were helped by domestic violence agencies in Connecticut.
"I was married to a man for nine years who subjected me to verbal, emotional and physical abuse on a continuous basis. I spent most of our marriage walking on eggshells, fearful that I would say something wrong, and set off his temper," said Lisa Fine, a domestic abuse survivor from Manchester who was helped by Interval House. "When I look back at why I stayed with him, I realize that not only did he destroy my self-confidence, but also convinced me that there was no way out. The Interval House is full of amazing people, and runs many very important Domestic Abuse programs. One in particular forced me to confront my reality. They were my anchors during my storm."
Blumenthal was also joined by Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence (CCADV) Executive Director Karen Jarmoc and Major Regina Rush-Kittle of the Connecticut State Police.
"Senator Blumenthal's leadership to create a comprehensive response for victims, assisted by Connecticut's 18 domestic violence agencies, will have a significant impact on the lives of countless victims of domestic violence," said Jarmoc.
Blumenthal introduced a companion bill to enhance VAWA and current law for the internet age. That legislation, the Internet Abuse Act, expands the ability of law enforcement to prosecute criminals who use the internet to intimidate, threaten, harass, and facilitate acts of sexual violence against women, children, and others. The bill passed by the Senate yesterday includes key concepts from the Internet Abuse Act, including a provision that strengthens existing provisions against cyber stalking.
Last year, Connecticut's 18 domestic violence agencies provided services to 54,178 victims of domestic violence in the state. Organizations including law enforcement agencies, cities, and advocacy groups in Connecticut received nearly $5 million from VAWA last year through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Violence Against Women.