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Public Statements

Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Mr. MEEHAN. Madam Speaker, I rise to encourage my colleagues from both sides of the aisle to put aside this rhetoric and to find a way to work together to pass the Violence Against Women Act, to move this important legislation forward in a way in which we can reach a resolution.

I come to this as a former prosecutor who has seen firsthand the implications. I come to give a voice to people who do not have an opportunity to speak for themselves. Because one of the things that we realize is that a woman will be victimized 12 times, beaten 12 times before she has the courage to come forward to speak to somebody who needs to be there, to be able to help give them a sense of comfort and dignity to be able to retain control over the circumstances. The Violence Against Women Act enables the kinds of resources to be there to have the trained personnel who can make a difference.

I had a chance to visit SANE nurses, who work in emergency wards, giving victims of rape the dignity to be able to have an examination in the privacy of a room, as opposed to being violated a second time out in a public space in an emergency ward, to reduce the time they have to spend for that examination from 13 hours after a rape to 2 hours, to be able to collect the evidence and to help that victim to be able to make their case if they so choose in court.

I have had a chance to work with victims of violence on college campuses--one in four women who have, in college campuses, reported that they have been victims of rape or attempted rape.

So, unquestionably, we must find a way to pass the Violence Against Women Act in the same way we must reduce the rhetoric and the misrepresentations and the shamefulness representations on both sides about the good intentions to try to do this. There are differences of opinion in small areas. We must find a way to get over those. I rise today to make sure that we give a voice to those victims, to work together to find a way to pass the Violence Against Women Act.


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