For Immediate Release
September 13, 2013
Statement by Democratic Party of Georgia Chair DuBose Porter on the 19th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act
Atlanta, GA – On the nineteenth anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act, DuBose Porter, Chair of the Democratic Party of Georgia, released the following statement:
Nineteen years ago, President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law, responding to the demands of women’s organizations and championed by then-U.S. Senator Joseph Biden. In the almost two decades since, this landmark law has improved the criminal justice response to domestic and stranger violence against women, ensured that victims and their families have access to the services they need, and the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped 50% since VAWA’s passage.[i]
Violence against women cuts across class, geography, race and age. When VAWA first became law in 1994, and with each reauthorization in 2000 and 2005, the law passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Our political leaders understood that VAWA is common-sense legislation that protects women; but, unfortunately, this is not the belief of today’s Republican Party.
Last year, Republicans in Congress tried to weaken VAWA, and the majority of the GOP voted against the renewal of the law earlier this year. Democrats voted unanimously for the reauthorization, joined by key Republicans; and President Obama signed the reauthorization. Republicans’ unwillingness to support this cornerstone legislation to protect victims of violence is Exhibit A in the GOP’s war against women.
Unfortunately, Georgia’s entire Republican House delegation abandoned the women of our state and stood with those who placed political games above the health and welfare of women. But Democrats understand that we must hold accountable those who refuse to stand up for the rights of women.
Next year, Georgians should remember that Paul Broun, Phil Gringrey and Jack Kingston, all candidates for the U.S. Senate, each voted to make it more difficult for women to escape abusive relationships and get the help they needed to prosecute their attackers.
In 1994, Congress recognized that violence against women weakened our nation, and together, we stood up for millions of women facing a terror few can imagine. However, the hard struggle to reauthorize VAWA clearly demonstrates that we still have work to do. When domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking remain the daily concerns of half our population, we must recommit ourselves and fund the steps we have taken towards a solution. VAWA is a triumph, but it remains only the beginning to end violence.