Members of Congress are home in their districts for the July 4th Recess – and as we celebrate what freedom and independence means for each of us, we must remind Congress that we all deserve to be free from domestic and sexual violence!
- 1 in every 4 women will experience domestic violence during her lifetime.
- 1 in 6 women and 1 in 33 men have experienced an attempted or completed rape.
- Every day in the US, three women are murdered by an intimate partner.
- 5.5 million children are exposed to violence annually.
- 26,000 cases of sexual assault related incidences occurred in the military, 3,374 were reported, and just 300 were prosecuted.
- In one 12-month period, 3.4 million adults were victims of stalking.
Despite the progress we have made toward addressing and preventing these crimes, an overwhelming need for survivor services, intervention, and prevention efforts remains. Congress needs to hear from you that responding to the needs of domestic and sexual violence survivors is still an urgent priority!
A number of key issues impacting victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking are currently being considered by Congress:
- Immigration Reform – While the Senate recently passed a comprehensive bill that will help bring immigrants out of the shadows, provide a path to citizenship, and strengthen protections for immigrant survivors of violence, the House of Representatives has yet to take up a similar bill. As the House moves forward on this issue, they must pass legislation that meets the needs of immigrant survivors and grants them access to all the vital safety net programs necessary to escape abusive situations.
- Gun Safety – Both the House and the Senate must continue to work towards passing legislation that would require background checks for all gun sales in commercial settings. There are too many loopholes in current law that allow domestic abusers to access firearms and by providing for commonsense additions to the background check system, we can reduce violence against women and save lives.
- Funding – Local service providers have already experienced years of funding cuts and are struggling to keep their lights on and doors open in order to provide safety and support. The Congressionally-mandated sequester cuts are further decimating the resources that survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking need to escape and heal from violence and abuse. Congress must end the sequester and invest in VAWA, FVPSA, and VOCA programs to ensure that lifesaving services will continue to be available to survivors of domestic and sexual violence.
- Military Sexual Assault – Our partners at the Interfaith Domestic Violence Coalition will be asking that Senator Gillibrand’s Military Justice Improvement Act, S. 967, be adopted when the Senate takes up the National Defense Authorization Act in the weeks ahead.
ACTION ITEM 1): CONTACT YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS AND ASK THEM TO SUPPORT LEGISLATION AND PROGRAMS THAT HELP SURVIVORS FIND FREEDOM FROM VIOLENCE!
Contact your Congressional officials here. Many Members will be out in the community during Fourth of July celebrations, so you can also approach them at events in your area!
Deliver the following message:
- I am a constituent from [city and state] and my name is _________.
- As we celebrate the fourth of July, with its message of freedom, I urge Senator/Representative [insert name] to support legislation and programs that help survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault find freedom, independence, and safety.
- Some of the issues that are most important to me are [reference immigration reform, gun safety, military SA and/or funding, as detailed above].
- Ask if your House or Senate Member supports any or all of these important improvements and offer to send information or stories from your program or community.
- Thank the staffer or Member for their time.
ACTION ITEM 2): TWEET THESE MESSAGES TO YOUR MEMBERS OF CONGRESS!
Find your Members’ Twitter handles here, and use the sample tweets below.
[Insert Twitter handle] As we celebrate freedom, remember that all deserve to be free from domestic violence & sexual assault. #endDV #endSA
[Insert Twitter handle] This July 4th, help survivors of abuse gain independence by investing in the resources programs need to provide safety and support!
[Insert Twitter handle] Freedom means not living in fear of being murdered by an abusive partner. #savewomenslives #DemandAction
[Insert Twitter handle] Freedom means knowing you can escape abuse and still remain in this country safely & legally. #supportCIR
Thanks to our partners at the National Task Force to End Violence Against Women for this content!
For more information, fact sheets, press coverage, support letters and updates visit www.4vawa.org.
Follow them on Twitter at @NTFVAWA and “like” their Facebook page!