Sexual assault became a central focus of the Kavanaugh debate through the disturbing allegations made by Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. Brett Kavanaugh’s October 6 confirmation to the Supreme Court leaves Dr. Blasey Ford, her fellow survivors, and their allies with one painful question—what comes next? For one, we need to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, which is currently operating under a temporary extension through December 7. People For the American Way and allied organizations have urged Congress to support a modest yet meaningful proposal offered by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee, D-Texas. You can download our letter here.
Dear Representative Sheila Jackson Lee,
We, the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence (“NTF”) applaud you for introducing the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018. The NTF is a national collaboration comprising a large and diverse group of national, tribal, state, territorial, and local organizations, advocates, and individuals, including the undersigned organizations, that focuses on the development, passage and implementation of effective public policy to address domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking (“the four crimes”). Your bill makes modest yet vital updates to the existing Violence Against Women Act (“VAWA”) that are based on the needs identified by direct service providers who work daily with victims and survivors of the four crimes. We appreciate your shared commitment to passing a bipartisan reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018 that is tailored to appeal to Members of Congress across the political spectrum.
Your bill makes important investments in prevention, a priority identified not only by people who work with victims and survivors daily but also by the bipartisan Women’s Caucus. Providing resources to implement evidence-based prevention programming makes our communities safer and, ultimately, saves taxpayers money. It also safeguards important protections that ensure all victims and survivors have access to safety and justice and provides a mechanism to hold predators who prey on Native women accountable. Moreover, it provides law enforcement with new tools to protect their communities, offers protections for survivors in federal public, subsidized, and assisted housing, supports victims and survivors who need assistance rebuilding financially, addresses the needs of underserved communities, and improves the healthcare response to the four crimes.
In short, the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 2018 is a narrow bill with a wide impact. We hope that your colleagues on both sides of the aisle will recognize the importance of this legislation to their constituents and join us in supporting it. Thank you, again, for being a champion for victims and survivors.