Today, U.S. Senators Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) joined with domestic violence advocates at a press conference to urge the House to move forward on the reauthorization of the Senate's bipartisan, inclusive version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (S. 1925), also known as VAWA, which passed the Senate three months ago with 68 votes.
During the press conference, the senators discussed the importance of provisions in the Senate version of VAWA that protect Native American women, college students, and immigrant women from domestic violence and sexual assault. The senators also discussed the importance of the bill's non-discrimination protection provision for all victims of domestic violence and sexual assault regardless of their race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or disability. These provisions are left out of the House version of VAWA. Angela Esquivel shared her experience as a survivor of sexual assault and discussed what the Senate version of VAWA would mean for victims.
"The Senate version of VAWA is a truly bipartisan measure that commands overwhelming support in the Senate and the American public," said Blumenthal. "In Connecticut, I hear again and again from men and women of all backgrounds that VAWA is an idea whose time came 18 years ago but continues to demand the kind of respect and support that the U.S. Senate has given it. Now is the time for the House to adopt the Senate version of VAWA, because it is more inclusive and more effective."
In addition to the press conference, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women circulated a letter today asking the House and Senate to immediately begin bipartisan conversations to finalize an inclusive, pro-victim/survivor version of VAWA. The letter was signed by over 960 advocates, service providers, and allies across the country. At least 24 Connecticut organizations were represented on the letter, including the Connecticut Coalition Against Domestic Violence -- an umbrella organization that is made up of 18 other Connecticut organizations.