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Public Statements

Domestic Violence Awareness Month

Floor Speech

Location: Washington, DC


Let me thank the gentleman from Texas for his service and for his commitment to an issue that is so vital and important to the Nation, and that is, the protection of all Americans from domestic violence. There is a long history of the journey of this Congress to responding to the cry of women and men, both in the civilian life and in the United States military.

I rise today to acknowledge and commemorate Domestic Violence Prevention Month. I remember the journey that we took in getting to the Violence Against Women Act with our former colleague, the late chair of the Judiciary Committee, Chairman Hyde. I remember in the early stages of the 1990s the attempt to reauthorize this legislation.

The good news was that Chairman Hyde, a Republican, Ranking Member Conyers, and Senators on both sides of the aisle joined together in one big room to come together and acknowledge the importance of protecting women; and then, of course, to acknowledge that violence, domestic violence, is a disease, an epidemic that spreads beyond the question of whether you are male or female.

The loss of life that has come about because people have not found a refuge is staggering. And for those of us who have heard firsthand stories--as a member of the Houston area Women's Center, the board that, if you will, had supervision over local Women's Centers, where women could go. I have known and have seen stories that would argue so vigorously for more funding and more recognition and more laws that would protect these women.

So I am glad that even though the journey was even longer to get the Violence Against Women Act passed in the last Congress that we ultimately, after the many petitions that we were involved in, saw a bipartisan vote in the House and the Senate--much longer in the House--that allowed it to go to the President's desk.

So my remarks, as I summarize, are to say that this is an ongoing cause. Domestic violence comes from tension and pressure, but it results in violence that culminates with the loss of life. Time after time, women and children suffer a loss of life through violence by a spouse or a loved one; and, of course, we know that it occurs with men. Time after time, women in the United States military suffer from the act of violence, domestic violence, or violence against women.

So I want to thank the gentleman for giving me the opportunity to at least acknowledge that this is a somber occasion, and there is great need for continued support.

My last sentence, Mr. Green: you mentioned resources. I hope as we leave this floor that we will all reinforce the elimination of the sequester and a budget process that will allow the funding of vital programs like the Violence Against Women Act.

I thank the gentleman for yielding.


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