It may not have been in the news in recent weeks, but that doesn’t mean that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is over and done with. In fact, since both houses of Congress passed separate versions of the bill, the next step is a conference committee, where members from both houses must come together to come up with a final version of the bill.
The House passed a version of VAWA that fails women. If this version prevails:
- Tribal courts will have no power to prosecute non-Native perpetrators of sexual violence against Native American women.
- Immigrant women will have little legal protection to prevent abusers from using immigration status as a tool of exploitation and control.
- LGBT persons will continue to face discrimination and denial of social services.
This is why action needs to continue, even though this committee is likely to take place after the election! These provisions include protections for Native American, undocumented immigrants, and gay, lesbian, and transgender victims. Because of this, we need to continue advocating for this issue, and making sure that the final legislation that is passed by Congress includes these provisions.
Below is a statement from Frank Jannuzi, head of Amnesty International’s Washington D.C. office:
“This vote is a devastating blow to legal protections for all women. H.R. 4970, as it currently stands, fails to protect some of the most vulnerable sectors of our society: immigrant women, LGBT individuals, Native American and Alaska Native women who fall victim to domestic violence and sexual assault. The House bill removes existing protections and severely limits access to essential resources provided for under the Senate-approved bill. In fact, in comparison with existing law, the House version represents a retreat for women’s rights.”
“The facts are grim. Murder is the third leading cause of death for Native women, and Native American and Alaskan Native women are two-and-a-half times more likely to be raped or sexually assaulted than other women in the United States. These unfortunate statistics demonstrate the need for a more comprehensive piece of legislation that would guarantee the protection of all women. It is imperative that Congress passes a bill that protects all women.â€
Below is the contact information for Missouri’s representatives and senators. Please demand that the final version of this bill protects ALL women, not just ones that the Republicans support!
MISSOURI 1ST DISTRICT
William “Lacy” Clay
2418 Rayburn House Office Building
Washington D.C., 20515
MISSOURI 2ND DISTRICT
117 Cannon House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515
MISSOURI 3RD DISTRICT
1710 Longworth House Office Building
Washington DC, 20515
MISSOURI 9TH DISTRICT
1740 Longworth House Office Building
Washington, DC 20515
Senator Claire McCaskill
Hart Senate Office Building, Ste. 506
Washington, D.C. 20510
Senator Roy Blunt
260 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510