The numbers are staggering. One out of every four women in America experiences domestic violence or sexual assault. Every day there are three thousand to eight thousand incidents of domestic violence. Yet, only 5% of incidents are reported – and the rates are even worse in poor and struggling communities. Immigrant women are at a higher risk, when immigration status becomes one more method of control, one more weapon the abuser has over the victim.
That is why the upcoming re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in Congress is so important. We, as a nation, need to protect the most vulnerable from violence and abuse. It’s common sense.
Yet, politicians in the House have taken the long-standing, bipartisan VAWA law and introduced a reauthorization bill that would weaken protections already in existing law for women who are victims of crime, including domestic violence and sexual assault. The Adams bill (H.R. 4970) would further deter and discourage victims of these heinous crimes from being able to go to the police for help. The bill would actually give abusers more power, not less, over their victims.
When VAWA was created eighteen years ago, “self-petitioning” was built in so that immigrant victims of abuse and violence could seek immigration status and relief on their own, taking this weapon of control away from the abuser. This provision is key for the victim to free herself from being shackled to the abuser for immigration reasons. The Adams bill proposes to make it more difficult for a victim to gain this protection by letting the abuser have a say.
And this is only one of the ways H.R. 4970 attempts to erode the protections necessary to make VAWA effective in protecting women, children, and victims from violence.
We need to act together now. The House Judiciary Committee is going to vote on H.R. 4970 EARLY NEXT WEEK. NOW is the time to let House Speaker John Boehner and the bill sponsor Rep. Sandy Adams (FL-24) know that they can’t sneak this past us, that we demand they restore the protections in VAWA necessary to protect vulnerable women and victims, whether immigrant or not, from abuse and violence.
With your call, joining hundreds of others over the next couple of days, we can join together and protect VAWA and protect vulnerable women and children victims of abuse.
Help stop the attack on vulnerable immigrant women. Please call Rep. Adams and Speaker Boehner and tell them not to eliminate VAWA protections for immigrant women.
Rep. Sandy Adams (FL-24):
DC phone: 202-225-2706
Port Orange: 386-756-9798
Speaker John Boehner (R- OH-8):
DC phone: 202-225-6205
West Chester: 513-779-5400