At a ceremony on Wednesday, the National Network to End Domestic Violence recognized Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) for his ongoing work in Congress to stop domestic violence and provide support for victims.
"I am proud to join with the National Network to End Domestic Violence and millions of people throughout this country in calling for comprehensive protections and support for all victims of domestic violence," Yarmuth said. "Domestic violence impacts every aspect of a victim's life: their physical and mental wellbeing, their work, their housing, their family, and their overall quality of life. This is an epidemic in our society, and we must do everything we can to eradicate it."
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in five women has been raped in her lifetime, and one in four women has been the victim of severe physical violence by a partner. And more than one-third of women seeking injury-related treatment in hospital emergency rooms were there because of injuries inflicted by a current or former spouse/partner.
Studies demonstrate that as many as half of women who are victims of domestic violence will lose their jobs in the aftermath of the crime. And total economic costs of rape and sexual assault are estimated to be $127 billion a year in the United States. This includes loss of productivity, medical and mental health care, police and fire services, social and victim services, and quality-of-life issues.
Yarmuth is a longtime supporter of legislation to establish stronger protections for victims of domestic violence, and to increase support services for victims and resources for law enforcement.
The Congressman has consistently supported efforts to fund and expand the Violence Against Women Act, and he recently called on the House Appropriations Committee to fully fund its numerous targeted provisions, including the Family Violence Prevention and Services Act, for FY 2013. The FVPSA provides shelter and other support services for more than one million victims of domestic violence each year.
Reauthorization of VAWA stalled last month, after House Republican leadership refused to consider legislation that was approved in the Senate with a strong bipartisan majority.
"It is unconscionable that Congress could let politics keep us from addressing a problem as widespread and heinous as domestic violence," Yarmuth said. "We can save lives now, and we can keep future generations from repeating these tragic situations."
As a Member of the House Ways and Means Committee during the 111th Congress, Yarmuth helped enact the Affordable Care Act, which mandated that domestic violence can no longer be considered a pre-existing condition and keep victims from receiving health coverage.
Last Congress, Yarmuth cosponsored H.R. 840, the Military Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Act, to address persistent sexual assault and domestic violence within the military. And in December, Yarmuth joined a successful effort to include several provisions to prevent sexual assault in the military and support victims in the National Defense Authorization Act for Fiscal Year 2012.
Yarmuth is also a cosponsor of H.R. 2016, the Campus SaVE Act, which seeks to improve education and prevention of domestic and dating violence on campus.
The National Network to End Domestic Violence is a national membership and advocacy organization that works to understand the needs of victims of domestic violence and to promote a range of programs and initiatives to address the complex causes and far-reaching consequences of domestic violence.