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Republican Commitment to the Violence Against Women Act

Location: Washington, DC

REPUBLICAN COMMITMENT TO THE VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN ACT -- (House of Representatives - September 27, 2005)

The SPEAKER pro tempore. Under a previous order of the House, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ros-Lehtinen) is recognized for 5 minutes.

Ms. ROS-LEHTINEN. Mr. Speaker, this evening, many of my colleagues, with the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite), who will be our leader, will be rising tonight on the floor to speak in strong support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Violence against women is a horrific epidemic that continues to plague our world; and as a wife, as a mother, and a female Member of Congress, I realize the profound responsibility that all of us have to work together with our colleagues to pass legislation that would speak to the very heart of each and every woman.

As a result, thanks to the leadership of the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite), we have consistently supported legislation that protects women from the grave attacks on human rights that they face.

It is vital to understand that to promote the welfare of women is also to support the subsistence of mankind.

Domestic violence is not just a woman's issue. It is a national issue that demands our utmost attention and it demands to be a priority. Legislation passed in 1994 and reauthorized in the year 2000 will expire on September 30 of this year, crippling the fight to protect women from domestic abuse. The programs funded by the Violence Against Women Act have had a profound impact on many women who are victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.

Sexual violence in our colleges and universities has reached epidemic proportions. It is appalling to imagine that when our precious children go to school to learn they are at risk for violence. This bill would provide additional funding for the training of campus law enforcement and campus judicial boards so that universities can focus on the critical task of educating our students.

Violence against women creates significant barriers to equity for women. The Violence Against Women Act would authorize critical programs and develop new services that respond to the needs of our communities. This bill recognizes the importance of cooperation between local law enforcement agencies and the courts and court-related personnel.

Violence against women cuts across racial and ethnic lines. In fact, minority women often face additional hardships which could in turn delay the healing process. Therefore, effective community developed programs that incorporate culturally specific services can break down some of these barriers that often isolate survivors. This bill provides support to local law enforcement, prosecutors, and to victim assistance programs to both stop violence against women and help the survivors so that they can start a new life.

We have to continue to work together to ensure that a culture of equality is cultivated, where the woman's role is increasingly recognized within society. Women make an indispensable contribution to the growth of our culture and their extraordinary presence permeates every aspect of our society. Without the contribution of women, society is less alive, culturally impoverished, and peace is made less stable.

As Vice Chair of the bipartisan Congressional Women's Caucus, I have consistently fought to protect women from domestic and sexual abuse, and I am so glad that we are joined not only by my colleague, the gentlewoman from Florida (Ms. Ginny Brown-Waite), but the gentlewoman from West Virginia (Mrs. Capito), who has been a leader in our women's caucus on this issue.

So we are talking about American women here, not Republican women, not Democrat women, but American women. The Violence Against Women Act is too important an issue for it to be left to partisan politics.

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