Target: The U.S. House of Representatives
Goal: Thank the House of Representatives for renewing the Violence Against Women Act
The U.S. House of Representatives recently renewed the Violence Against Women Act after over a year of deliberation, and despite proposing a scaled down version a couple weeks prior. This landmark legislation, originally signed in 1994, dramatically improved the criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic and dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the United States. This act expired in 2011 when Congress failed to reauthorize it, and this long overdue renewal deserves some praise.
While debating reauthorization, different versions of the bill were passed in the Senate and the House. The House’s bill favored reduction of services for immigrant and LGBT women, as well as the amending of a provision that allowed Native American tribal courts to prosecute non-Natives if the sexual crimes were perpetrated on Native American land. Ultimately, the House signed into law the all-inclusive version that the Senate had passed weeks earlier, after the stripped-down version failed by a vote of 257 to 166. Thanks to the perseverance of those on the side of the original bill, all sexual assault victims can still enjoy full protection under the law.
Dear U.S. House of Representatives,
I am writing you this letter today to thank you for recently passing the full version of the Violence Against Women Act. This landmark piece of legislation has protected thousands of victims of sexual assault since 1994, as well as enabled and encouraged better prosecution of their perpetrators. This legislation did this by improving both criminal justice and community-based responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in the United States.
Since the law expired in 2011, different reauthorizations of the bill have been passed along party lines in both the Senate and House. The House’s proposal, however, had scaled back the protections for immigrant, minority, and Native American women. Thank you for making the bipartisan move by stepping across the aisle and passing the Senate’s version of this bill. By passing this important legislation you have empowered and protected women for years to come.
[Your Name Here]
photo credit: adria.richards via Flickr