That’s how many women are killed by a current or former intimate partner and that is only one of a long list of statistics regarding the killing, sexual assault, stalking and harassing of women in this country. Are you aware that 1 in 3 women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime? Did you know that 8.5 million girls and 1.5 million boys are abused before the age of 18?
April is National Assault Prevention and Awareness Month and a good time to gain a better understanding of how pervasive these kinds of violence are and how you can help do something about it. Millions of individuals are affected by these life-threatening crimes every year. Start by checking out the website of The National Network To End Domestic Violence, an organization that can provide a wealth of information. What you will learn there will help you better understand the importance of passage of the Violence Against Women Act.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA ) was passed in 1994 with bipartisan support. It has been re-authorized several times since then to improve it but in February, 2019, after months of failed negotiations, it expired. Republicans have been unwilling to buck objections of the National Rifle Association (NRA).
On March 17, 2021, the House passed H.R. 1620 with 172 Republicans, some of them women, voting “NO” on the re-authorization of VAWA. Only 29 Republicans voted “YES” with the Democrats. The Republicans key reason for objecting to the bill is they agree with the National Rifle Association’s opposition to a provision that would close what is referred to as the “boyfriend loophole”.
Another law passed in 1996 prohibits current or former spouses who have been convicted of domestic violence from legally purchasing a firearm. The new VAWA would extend that prohibition to “boyfriends” who have been convicted of stalking and/or assaulting their girlfriend or who have had a restraining order issued against them for actions against their girlfriend. FBI data indicates a boyfriend is as likely to kill their intimate partner as a husband.
Most Republicans in the House obviously love their guns and the NRA more than they care about human lives. Let’s see if Republican Senators feel differently and have the courage to show it.
Now is the time to help them rise to the occasion. Call and/or write them of your support for the passage of VAWA as passed by the House. Need contact information? Go to senate.gov. Click on “ find your Senators” on upper left side. Click on your state from the dropdown menu.