By Chelsea Feuchs, JWI Intern
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a previously bi-partisan bill used to advance services for victims and survivors of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, has itself become a victim of political contention. Two different versions of this legislation currently exist, one passed by the House of Representatives (H.R. 4970), the other by the Senate (S. 1925), but a uniform, final version has not yet been passed by Congress and signed into law by the President.
One critical population that would greatly benefit from a final VAWA reauthorization bill is women on college and university campuses. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 20% to 25% of women in college reported experiencing an attempted or a completed rape in college. The Senate VAWA reauthorization bill, S. 1925, includes the Campus SaVE Act, a critical bill that would update the Clery Act and add stalking, dating violence and domestic violence to the list of crimes colleges and universities have to include in their annual report. While the Clery Act already mandates that schools report incidents of sexual assault, these other pervasive and devastating crimes are not included in the list.
Although the House bill still includes a grant for combatting violent crimes on college campuses and establishes a National Center for Campus Public Safety, it does not include the essential provisions in Campus SaVE which will bring much needed awareness to violent crimes on campus. Without a final VAWA that includes Campus SaVE, colleges and universities would not be accountable to report a range of violent crimes on campus or provide prevention programs.
We at Jewish Women International ask you to join us in contacting our Members of Congress and Congressional leaders to tell them that Congress must act quickly to pass a final version of VAWA that includes the Campus SaVE Act and comprehensively addresses the staggering rates of violence on college campuses. There is simply too much at stake for our daughters, sisters, cousins, and friends on college campuses to let VAWA languish any longer.
Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.