The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), after years of inexplicable Congressional delay, has passed and been signed into law by the President. It has been described as the most significant legislation in many years, as it not only reauthorizes, but also strengthens and modernizes the legislation first enacted in 1994.
In the years since, I have been proud to testify before Congress and to resolutely advocate for reauthorization. I am grateful to all the organizations and individuals across the country whose efforts finally have resulted in this necessary and far-reaching legislation, now the law of the land.
The impact of VAWA will reverberate across our communities, our campuses and our society, hopefully making people safer and more secure because of the new and enhanced protections now in place. For example, the new law expands economic support and housing stability for survivors by enhancing legal assistance and transitional housing support that can help reduce the risk of homelessness.
As I have said before, silence can be the greatest danger. We need to bring men's voices in greater numbers to what is often inaccurately perceived as a women's issue alone or a family’s personal business. And we need to teach boys, at a young age, that violence again women and girls is unacceptable. Period.
While VAWA’s reauthorization has finally been achieved, the continuing pandemic is sustaining higher numbers of incidents of domestic violence. And often, it is the children who witness, or are subjected to, the violence that also are left with the adverse effects of such trauma.
Our Beyond Trauma – Youth Music Therapy program continues to earn high marks, because it continues to make a difference in individual lives, among both high school and middle school age youth. We are working diligently to replicate this program, so that we can support more young people, helping them to navigate their way forward to reach the better future that they deserve.
Your generous and unwavering support is tremendously appreciated and matters greatly.
My congratulations to our Board President, Eva Bunnell, on her appointment by President Biden to serve on the President’s Committee for People with Intellectual Disabilities. The committee members serve as an advisor to the President and the Secretary of Health and Human Services on matters relating to persons with intellectual disabilities. Eva will bring passion, perspective and leadership to this important assignment; the President could not have made a better, more impactful choice.
I look forward to hopefully seeing many of you in Connecticut on May 6th.Best wishes,