In 1994, Congress enacted the Violence Against Women Act into Federal law. VAWA, as the act is called was drafted by then Senator Joe Biden and the act “provides $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposes automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allows civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted.” (Wikipedia). Every few years VAWA needs to re-authroized and in 2011 authorization was allowed to lapse due to opposition by conservative Republicans who opposed protections for same-sex couples and undocumented immigrants.
On Tuesday, the Senate voted 78-22 to reauthorize VAWA and now it’s up to the House of Representatives to do the same. Some conservative republicans continue to oppose VAWA on grounds of same-sex couples, undocumented immigrants and Native American Tribal Courts. How anyone can oppose VAWA is beyond me. Has it come to the point where we can’t agree to protect women? ALL women?
It seems fitting that this is happening in the midst of V-Day and the One Billion Rising Movement. V-Day “is a global activist movement to … stop violence against women and girls, including rape, battery, incest, female genital mutilation (FGM), and sex slavery.” (V-Day) Fifteen years strong, every Valentine’s Day local volunteers and college students produce benefit performances of The Vagina Monologues and other works to raise money for anti-violence groups in their communities. To find a local V-Day event visit the V-Spot site.
To mark its fifteenth anniversary, V-Day has organized the One Billion Rising Movement – the name inspired by a disturbing statistic: one billion women – one of every three women on the planet – will be raped or beaten in their lifetime. Tomorrow, V-Day is “inviting one billion women and those who love them to walk out, DANCE, RISE UP, AND DEMAND an end to this violence.” There are many events organized and you can find a local One Billion Rising event on the One Billion Rising website.
This Valentine’s Day join women across the world to rise up and make a change. If you can’t find an event close to you – or even if you do – if you want to make a donation please visit the donation page on the One Billion Rising website.
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