Farah Tanis, CoFounder, Black Women's Blueprint
Black Women's Blueprint released its VAWA countdown 20 days before the VAWA expiration due date of September 30, 2018, placing VAWA squarely in the middle of grassroots debates about the MeToo movement and talks about sexual assault. We did this in alignment with the following Call to Action by the National Task Force (NTF) a group of over 50 national organizations working to impact policy that protect the rights of survivors of gender-violence.
NTF Action Alert: Propel VAWA Forward Today
The #MeToo movement has shown that we need national attention to address the needs of survivors of gender-based violence. It also is a call to organizational and individual advocates to work as one to prevent and end this harassment, battery, assault and rape. It is critical that policymakers respond to this powerful movement by supporting policies and programs that support survivors and hold perpetrators accountable. But right now, Congress is sitting on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (H.R.6545), one of the nation’s single most effective tools in responding to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. This bill needs many more supporters if we are going to avoid the expiration of VAWA which is only authorized through September 30, 2018.
Days before VAWA was to expire, representatives moved to postpone VAWA to December 7, 2018, again postponing safety and dignity and services for those who identify as victims and for survivors. Black Women's Blueprint is committed to VAWA Watch and to keeping our fingers on the pulse of community as they are impacted by this postponement and debate around prioritizing survivors no matter what the political climate.
WHAT YOU CAN DO: (fr the NTF)
We are calling on you today to help us ensure that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) gets reauthorized, with all of the new critical proposals that are included in the current reauthorization bill: housing protections, protection from abusers with guns, justice for survivors on tribal land and increased prevention funding.
There are three key things you can do right now to propel VAWA forward today:
Call your Representative right now. If they haven’t signed on as a co-sponsor of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2018 (H.R. 6545), ask them to do so immediately. VAWA has always been bipartisan in the past, so it is particularly important to get support from Republican Representatives. If your Representative has signed on as a co-sponsor to H.R. 6545, please call them and thank them. Use this link to find your Representative, and then check out this list to see if they have signed on to support VAWA yet.
Write an op-ed or letter to the editor for your local paper about the importance of reauthorizing VAWA. Members of Congress and their staff closely monitor local media, and if your Representative knows that there is community support for this, they’re more likely to support VAWA. See our templates here, and check out this great resource from The Op-Ed Guide and Indivisible about how to write and submit a great op-ed on an issue that matters to you.
Sign a letter of support. If you’re part of an organization that would care about this topic, such as a workplace or a local organizing group, you can sign on to our letter of support from organizations here. We’ll be delivering this to Congress next month as evidence of widespread support of reauthorizing VAWA.
If you want to learn more about VAWA and the critical enhancements in H.R. 6545 register for a webinar hosted by the NTF titled “VAWA Reauthorization: What’s in it, and what happens next.”
Let’s put the pressure on, and move VAWA’s passage forward today. With your help, we know we can do it! For more information, contact Dorian Karp at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If your Member is not a sponsor, please contact them with this message: We need the Violence Against Women Act reauthorized now. Survivors can’t wait for lifesaving responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Representative Sheila Jackson Lee has introduced H.R. 6545, moderate legislation reauthorizing VAWA that Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle can support. Please co-sponsor this legislation today!
If a staff person acts like their Member might sponsor, please send their contact info to email@example.com or your group’s policy person working on VAWA (including name of their Member and state) and we’ll get other groups to call in support. If they say “yes she/he will sponsor,” let Pat or organizational contact know but also advise them to contact Rep. Jackson Lee’s staff: Monalisa Dugué, (202) 225-6906 Monalisa.firstname.lastname@example.org<mailto:Monalisa.email@example.com.
What does the bill do?
Increases authorization for the Rape Prevention & Education Program from $50 million to $150 million to address skyrocketing need and demand for community prevention programs.
Returns sovereignty to tribes to prosecute non-native offenders of sexual assault, trafficking, stalking, and child abuse.
Adds new definitions including Abuse in Later Life; Alternative Justice Response; Digital Services; Forced Marriage; Economic Abuse; and Technological Abuse and updates the definition of domestic violence.
Strengthens public housing protections for survivors including those seeking housing transfers based on safety concerns.
Adds a new purpose to the Improving Criminal Justice Response grant program to implement alternative justice responses that are focused on victim autonomy, agency and safety to provide resolution and restitution for the victim.
Strengthens privacy protections across state line, online with digital records, and preserves confidentiality upon survivor’s death in accordance with their wishes.
Acknowledges the trauma of incarceration on women and their family members, especially their children, and improves health care services and trauma informed responses to better prepare incarcerated women to return to their communities.
Improves enforcement of current federal domestic violence-related firearms laws and closes loopholes to reduce firearm-involved abuse and intimate partner homicide.
Expands VAWA’s ability to respond to sexual harassment.
Know that as you’re making your phone calls, we’re meeting with leaders in both the House and Senate to find additional support and bipartisan sponsors for a VAWA bill that protects all survivors.
Together, we can insist Congress passes a strong, bipartisan bill that protects ALL survivors and prevents domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking in our communities!
Join us on Social Media!
Congressional Twitter handles and Facebook accounts can be found here.
Example tweets with hashtag.
Tweets that already exist for VAWA 2018:
I strongly support programs that prevent sexual and gender-based violence and protect individuals who have experienced violence. [@YourRepresentative], now is the time to reauthorize #VAWA18
Our world sees too much violence, and women are particularly impacted. [@YourRepresentative], act to prevent abuse and violence by reauthorizing #VAWA4All.
Survivors can’t wait for lifesaving responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. [@YourRepresentative], now is the time to reauthorize #VAWA4All.
[@YourRepresentative], stand in solidarity with victims of gender-based violence. Support the Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act! #VAWA18
All people deserve to lead violence-free lives, Congress has a duty to uphold this right! #VAWA18.
[@YourRepresentative], gender-based violence happens in our community, too. Reauthorize #VAWA4All and support prevention and education programs that keep our jurisdiction safes
Violence doesn’t discriminate and neither should our laws! [@YourRepresentative] support #VAWA4All and ensure Native survivors of gender-based violence have access to justice on tribal lands!
Violence doesn’t discriminate and neither should our laws! [@YourRepresentative], support #VAWA18 and ensure incarcerated survivors of gender-based violence have access to trauma-informed care!
[@YourRepresentative], support #VAWAReauth and ensure survivors of domestic abuse access to safe housing!
[@YourRepresentative], reducing access to firearms saves lives! Support #VAWA18 and help prevent firearm-involved intimate partner homicides.
Young survivors can’t wait for lifesaving responses to dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. Now is the time to reauthorize #VAWA4All
[@YourRepresentative], gender-based violence happens in our community and young people are at particular risk! Reauthorize #VAWA4All and support prevention and education programs that keep young people safe!
Young people deserve to lead violence-free lives, Congress has a duty to uphold this right! #VAWA18
Violence doesn’t discriminate and neither should our laws! [@YourRepresentative], support #VAWA18 and ensure young survivors of gender-based violence have access to justice!
Contact: Ftanis@blueprintny.org to join the mobilization and organizing by Black women to support VAWA.