The Senate passed its Violence Against Women Act reauthorization bill Tuesday. This pushes the bill to the House, where, according to the Huffington Post, Republican leaders have failed to signal how they will proceed.
It’s about time. VAWA is expanding its protections to vulnerable groups. U.S. President Barack Obama has hailed the vote as a key step toward reducing homicides that stem from domestic violence and improving the criminal justice response to rape and sexual assault, according to The Huffington Post, encouraging House Republican leaders to pass the senate bill and send it on to him.
Since it was created in 1994, VAWA has helped to strengthen programs and services for victims of domestic violence, dating violence and stalking, according to the Post. It extends protections to LGBT and Native American individuals, as well, and also works to prevent sexual crime and assault on college campuses. There is little reason for Congress to fail to pass a bill that protects women from ongoing and permanently damaging — if not often fatal — crimes against them.
There is nothing offensive in the act. It is placing federal money where it should go — toward the protection of the people. When sexual assault continues to ravage communities by harming women, it is obvious that federal steps need to be taken to try to ameliorate the problem. VAWA is a strong first step.
If, however, Congress fails to fully pass the act, it should work to implement alternatives to the issue. Women need governmental protection and support groups.