Since 1994 when it was first passed, the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA, has been a non-controversial and very impactful piece of legislation. VAWA funds domestic violence shelters, sexual assault crisis centers, advocates, and prevention services. VAWA has also created legislation that improves investigation and prosecution of violence. Over the years, VAWA has been expanded and updated to ensure that ALL Americans are protected, including men and boys, the LGBTQIA+ community, undocumented survivors, and more.
I’ve seen firsthand the importance of VAWA to Safe Passage, DeKalb County’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Crisis Center. That is one reason it is so frustrating to see VAWA being treated as a political beachball by this administration: passing short term funding bills for a few months at a time while victims and crisis centers are left to wonder what the future holds.
The latest threat to VAWA is the National Rifle Association. The NRA objects to new legislation in VAWA designed to keep guns out of the hands of abusers. We’ve seen firsthand the effects of gun violence and domestic violence in our county. We can’t allow this critical legislation to lapse yet again. This is a matter of life or death. Contact your representatives and urge them to vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.
I’m Lynnea Erickson Laskowski and that’s my perspective.