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Mariska Hargitay and the Joyful Heart Foundation Urge Senate to Reauthorize VAWA
March 21, 2012, New York – Our Senators must act now to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the landmark legislation that revolutionized the prosecution and prevention of violent crimes against women and girls.
The Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, S. 1925, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), is the result of more than two years of work by a coalition of over 300 advocacy groups. Contributing their voices, experience and expertise, over 2,000 advocates from across the country identified the most pressing needs of survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.
VAWA has protected, improved, and restored lives. Political maneuvering must not prevent this crucial—and historically bipartisan—legislation from moving forward. Failure to reauthorize VAWA would not only erode our country's hard-won progress on the issues of sexual and domestic violence, but compromise our proud international stance on these difficult issues.
Reauthorizing VAWA sends the message that our communities, our families—and all people—must be safe; that survivors must have the tools to heal and reclaim their lives; that we must engage the next generation in this effort—and that breaking the cycle of violence is an unassailable national priority. To send any other message is unconscionable.