Keeping to his promise that “1is2Many”, President Obama said today while signing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, “(W)e’ve made incredible progress since 1994. But we cannot let up — not when domestic violence still kills three women a day. Not when one in five women will be a victim of rape in their lifetime. Not when one in three women is abused by a partner.
So I promise you — not just as your President, but as a son, and a husband, and a father — I’m going to keep at this. I know Vice President Biden is going to keep at it. My administration is going to keep at it for as long as it takes.”
After an audience member shouted in celebration, “We love you, Mr. President!” and the President responded happily, “I love you back” he got down to the important business of the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
The President said, “We’ve made incredible progress since 1994. But we can’t let up. Not now.” He poignantly referred to the survivors on the stage with him, “Today is about all the survivors and advocates standing on this stage… No woman has to choose between a violent home and no home at all.” He included all Americans who have faced discrimination, “Today is about all the Americans who’ve faced discrimination based on sexual orientation & gender identity when they seek help.”
The President has always seen women as equal people deserving of liberty and equal protection under the law. The President affirmed, “All women deserve the right to live free from fear. That’s what today is about.” His administration has the best record on women’s rights of any administration and indeed, Vice President Joe Biden co-sponsored the original Violence Against Women Act in 1994.
Obama praised his Vice President for forging the original VAWA, “So on behalf of everybody here and all the lives that you’ve had a positive impact and touched through the Violence Against Women Act — the survivors who are alive today because of this law, the women who are no longer hiding in fear because of this law, the girls who are growing up aware of their right to be free from abuse because of this law — on behalf of them and all their families, I want to thank Joe Biden for making this one of the causes of his career. ”
The Vice President also spoke today, acknowledging the origins of the VAWA, “Those of you who have been around a while with me know that I quote my father all the time who literally would say, the greatest sin that could be committed, the cardinal sin of all sins was the abuse of power, and the ultimate abuse of power is for someone physically stronger and bigger to raise their hand and strike and beat someone else. In most cases that tends to be a man striking a woman, or a man or woman striking a child. That’s the fundamental premise and the overarching reason why John Conyers and I and others started so many years ago to draft the legislation called the Violence Against Women Act.”
Biden pointed out that 40% of mass shootings targeted an intimate partner, “We’ve all focused on the tragic gun violence that has been in the news lately, but I want to point something out to you. From 2009 to 2012, 40 percent of the mass shootings in America, other than the celebrated ones you’ve seen — 40 percent where there’s four or more people who have been shot, the target has been a former intimate partner or a close family member.”
Biden explained that the law has been strengthened in its renewal, “First, we’ve given jurisdiction to tribal courts over those who abuse women on reservations regardless of whether or not they — (applause.) We’re providing more resources to the states so they can be trained as to how to collect evidence, acquire convictions, particularly in prosecutions for rape. We’re going to increase the use of proven models to reduce domestic violence homicides.”
The White House broke down the key provisions in the Violence Against Women Act signed today by President Obama, noting the importance of the passage, “While tremendous progress has been made since the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was first enacted, domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking are still significant problems facing women, families, and communities.The new VAWA bill signed into law by President Obama March 7, 2013 will continue effective programs, make targeted expansions to address the needs of especially vulnerable populations, and help prevent violence in future generations.”
It only took a year and a half to get Republicans to reauthorize the VAWA! Woo hoo, way to go Republicans. They held on as long as they could, objecting to liberty and freedom for all but in the end, legitimate rape negatively colored their obstructionism (bad PR) and so women can breathe a short sigh of relief. Sure, you might not be worthy of protection let alone rights in some people’s “minds”, but at least Todd Akin is unwittingly serving the cause now.
Vice President Joe Biden deserves a hearty round of applause for never giving up on justice for women. Yes, Joe, we concur: Women’s lives are a BFD.
Read the fact sheet regarding the improvements made to the VAWA here.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.