Valentines for VAWA

VAWA.jpg-largeThis Tuesday the senate finally passed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization.  The bill passed with a vote of 78-22.  It’s worth noting that all of those opposed to its passage were Republican men, including Marco Rubio (R- FL), the now infamous water guzzler from Tuesday night, and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY).  The bill now moves on to the House where further opposition is expected.

Those opposing the bill in the Senate offered unsuccessful amendments to remove protections for Native American women, LGBT individuals and undocumented immigrants.  So what’s their issue with these issues?

Native American Women

VAWA  Protection:  Closes the loophole that prevents tribal authorities, who have jurisdiction over crimes committed on Indian territory by Indians, from having any authority over non-Native American male abusers.

Why is this important:

  • The United States Department of Justice estimates that indigenous women are more than twice as likely as all other women to be victims of violence and that one in three of them will be raped during her lifetime.
  • An estimated 80 percent of these rapes of indigenous women are perpetrated by non-Native Americans.
  • These rape and sexual abuse cases currently fall under federal jurisdiction, but a 2010 report by the General Accounting Office found that U.S. attorneys, “declined to prosecute 46 percent of assault matters and 67 percent of sexual abuse and related matters.”

LGBT Victims

VAWA Protection: Expands protections to individuals in same-sex couples who are victims of domestic violence.

Why is this important:

Undocumented Immigrants

VAWA Protection: Expands the ‘U-Visa’ system — visas extended to people who are undocumented, but have been victims of crimes, including rape, stalking, and domestic abuse.

Why is this important:

  • Abusers often exploit a woman’s immigration causing many immigrant women to avoid reporting their abuse to law enforcement due to fears of being deported.
  • U-Visas help remove the fear of deportation and grant the right to work legally, empowering the victim through economic independence, which is commonly another chain that ties a victim to their abuser.


As today is Valentine’s Day, and the launch of the One Billion Rising movement, we suggest we all take a moment and show some love for all of the individuals this bill helps to protect.

  1. Send a letter or valentine to your representative urging them to advance VAWA in the House
  2. Call your senator and thank them for reauthorizing VAWA, or express your disappointment
  3. Participate in a 1 Billion Rising event TODAY in a location near you and draw awareness to the issue of violence against women


Andrea Perri

Project Specialist

Campaign Consultation, Inc.



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Andrea Perri

I came to Campaign Consultation with a strong background in social work and community organizing. I am also a former Peace Corps health volunteer who served in The Gambia working on maternal and child health care projects.In my role as Project Specialist, I assist with project research, content development and other support for the Social Innovation Fund, George Washington University Freshman Day of Service and other projects.Read more.

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