AFA Urges Senate to Pass VAWA

AFA Urges Senate to Pass VAWA

Call your Senator and Representative to pass S. 1925, The Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA).

AFA-CWA helped spearhead the implementation of VAWA in the early 1990s, and we will continue our legacy of fighting to end abuse in personal relationships. The U.S. Senate could be voting this week to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

Domestic violence remains a troubling part of our society. A staggering 1.3 million women and 800,000 men annually are physically assaulted by an intimate partner. At AFA, one percent of flight attendants reported abuse committed by an intimate partner to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Of course, because domestic violence is underreported we suspect these already high numbers to be higher in reality.

First signed into law in 1994, VAWA seeks to decrease the frequency of assault on victims of domestic violence. From it’s enactment through 2010 the number of women killed by their intimate partner fell 30%, and the annual rate of domestic violence against women fell more than 60%. VAWA funds rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and other community based organizations to provide a safety net from abuse, while aiding investigation and prosecution of the assailant.

Traditionally, VAWA was meant to protect women from domestic violence, and over the years the reach of VAWA has extended to the elderly, disabled, and teens. However, eleven percent of gay women and fifteen percent of gay men report some form of violence from their partner. AFA EAP representatives encourage victims of domestic violence to file police reports in order to be eligible for the funds to help individuals. However, under the current law, we must tell our members who are victims of same sex abuse that reporting abuse to the police is ineffective because they will not be eligible for services.  The proposed reauthorization extends VAWA protection to same-sex couples and victims of international sex trafficking.

Please call both of your Senators and ask them to pass the Violence Against Women Act today!

Calling is easy. Simply call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected your Senator.

Once connected, a sample script would be:

“Hello, I am a voter and a constituent. I am urging the Senator to pass the Violence Against Women Act, VAWA. This bill protects all victims of domestic violence, regardless of their age, gender, race, citizenship, sexuality, or faith. Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking deserve help and that’s what S. 1925, VAWA, does.  Again, please tell the Senator to pass the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization.”

Your call will be answered by a member of the Senator’s staff who will tally your opinion. They may ask for your name, address, city and/or zip code to verify you are a constituent.

Please remember you have TWO Senators, please make sure you weigh in with both!

Don’t know your Senators? You can find out at www.senate.gov

  • Veda Shook’s Message to the Senate

    Dear Senator,

    The Association of Flight Attendants-CWA (AFA), representing nearly 60,000 members at 20 carriers strongly urges passage of the Violence Against Women Act of 2011 (VAWA). Domestic violence remains a troubling part of our society. A staggering 1.3 million women and 800,000 men annually are physically assaulted by an intimate partner. At AFA, one percent of flight attendants reported abuse committed by an intimate partner to our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Of course, because domestic violence is underreported we suspect these already high numbers to be higher in reality.

    First signed into law in 1994, VAWA seeks to decrease the frequency of assault on victims of domestic violence. It does this by funding rape crisis centers, domestic violence shelters, and other public and private community based organizations to provide a safety net from abuse, while aiding investigation and prosecution of the assailant.

    VAWA is a cost-effective and successful method of decreasing domestic violence. In a cost-benefit analysis published by the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, researchers determined that the first authorization of VAWA saved $14.8 billion dollars in net averted social costs. Further, the current proposed reauthorization even saves more than $135 million from the last authorization in 2005. Most importantly, since its founding, domestic violence has dropped 67 percent. It continues to maintain bipartisan support everywhere except in the United States Congress, as illustrated by the fact that 53 Attorneys General of the United States and the territories support this legislation. This hostility to reauthorizing VAWA is shocking given that it was unanimously reauthorized both times it previously was passed in the Senate.

    Traditionally, VAWA was meant to protect women from domestic violence, and over the years the reach of VAWA has extended to the elderly, disabled, and teens. However, eleven percent of gay women and fifteen percent of gay men report some form of violence from their partner. AFA EAP representatives encourage victims of domestic violence to file police reports in order to be eligible for the funds to help individuals. However, under the current law, we must tell our members who are victims of same sex abuse that reporting abuse to the police is ineffective because they won’t be eligible for services provided under VAWA.  Fortunately, VAWA would end this injustice and extend the reach of the law to cover same-sex couples.

    Importantly, VAWA would also extend protections to victims of international sex trafficking. According to the Department of Justice, an estimated 600,000 to 800,000 victims of human trafficking cross our borders every year. These are people who are ripped from their homes and are oftentimes manipulated and abused. Their inability to report abuse only helps to ensure their continued enslavement. They are certainly in need of temporary help that we have the moral obligation to provide.

    Senator, we urge you to support the Violence Against Women Act. Violence is violence whether it’s between a man and a woman, or between two men or two women. Violence is violence regardless of the legal status of the victim.  VAWA is an essential piece of legislation that needs to be passed.

    Sincerely,

    Veda Shook
    International President