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Public Statements

Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4970, Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2012, and Providing for Consideration of H.R. 4310, National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2013

Floor Speech

By:
Date:
Location: Washington, DC

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Ms. BROWN of Florida. Mr. Speaker and Members of the House, as I rise today to speak against this flawed Violence Against Women Act that the House is presenting, let me point out this picture. This picture is a picture of Marissa Alexander, a 31-year-old mother of three with a master's degree and no prior convictions, who received a 20-year sentence for firing a warning shot in the air to warn off an attack by her husband. At the time that it occurred, there was a restraining act. Let me point out that this shot did not injure anyone, yet she will be in jail until 2032.

The imbalance in the system is obvious. Just minutes before she fired the shot Marissa's husband told her, ``If I can't have you, no one is going to.'' Sadly, millions of abused women have heard these exact words and not lived to tell about it.

Battered women like Marissa need support and counseling.

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Ms. BROWN of Florida. Battered women like Marissa need support and counseling so that they don't find themselves in these situations. Jailing them for 30 years is unacceptable.

This is the beginning, not the end. Along with the NAACP and other groups, we will fight to make sure we turn over this horrible ruling and stand up to the legal system that persecutes women who defend themselves. Those women need help, not prison.

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