I want to take this opportunity to publicly and personally thank Sen. Leahy and Rep. Welch for the passage of the Violence Against Women Act last week. This legislation written by Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Patrick Leahy of Vermont was to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. This bill created quite a lot of controversy between the Democrat-controlled Senate and Republican-dominated House. This version of the reauthorization of VAWA now includes new protections for Native Americans and unauthorized immigrants, as well as lesbian, bisexual and transgender women.
The Violence Against Women Act provides local communities funding and resources to assist victims of domestic and sexual violence and to take steps to prevent further instances of domestic and sexual violence. In 2009 I had the opportunity to testify in front of the U.S. Senate Judiciary how this funding helped me and my family after my assault in the Mad River Valley in 1992. Without the help of the services this legislation provided, I would not be where I am today. I am no longer a victim but a survivor and a strong activist. I wholeheartedly agree with Rep. Welch’s statement regarding VAWA when he said that he is pleased that a bipartisan majority of the House of Representatives has now affirmed what is plainly common sense: that violence is violence no matter what you look like or whom you love.
My sincere appreciation to both Sen. Leahy and Rep. Welch for their hard work in seeing this legislation pass.
Susan S. Russell
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