I was honored this week to celebrate the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) with Hope House in Independence. Hope House is the largest domestic services agency in Missouri. The staff there assist more than 10,000 victims of abuse every year. We were joined by Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker and law enforcement officers from various agencies throughout Missouri's Fifth District.
VAWA is crafted to protect all women and children, including Native Americans, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community. It provides extended services for survivors, additional rape kits, a national registry of forensic evidence from sexual assault cases, domestic violence discussions on college campuses, more temporary housing for victims of domestic abuse, and stronger anti-trafficking statutes. I was proud to cosponsor the House version of the Senate bill that recently passed. The bill was supported by the National Task Force to End Sexual & Domestic Violence Against Women. It is a coalition of more than 1,300 organizations. And this bill incorporates years of analysis of the problem and the solutions that have been proposed by law enforcement, survivors of domestic abuse, and those who work to serve them.
And the need is so very great.
* 3 women are murdered by their partners every day.
* 1,871 women are raped every day.
* 3,562 women are physically assaulted by their partner every day.
* 1 in 4 women is a victim of domestic violence.
* 1 in 6 women has survived attempted or completed sexual assault.
* 15 million children in this country are exposed to domestic violence every year.
Preventing domestic abuse, assisting victims, and prosecuting perpetrators are not partisan issues -- but victories in protecting all women - and all of those who have suffered in silence for too long.