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BWHI CEO Urges Congress to Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON, DC – Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing on “The Need to
Reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” a federal bill created to address
domestic and sexual violence that was first passed in 1994 and most recently reauthorized in
2013. The hearing featured testimony from the Office on Violence Against Women, as well as
testimony from representatives of civil rights organizations and groups that support survivors of
gender-based violence.

Linda Goler Blount, president and CEO of the Black Women’s Health Imperative (BWHI)
released the following statement in response:

“It is vitally important that Congress reauthorize and fully fund the Violence Against Women
Act (VAWA). This legislation addresses one of the most pressing social determinants of health
that greatly impact Black women and girls, gender-based violence. Black women are particularly
vulnerable to sexual and relationship violence because of systemic sexism and racism. In fact,
nearly four out of every 10 Black women have or will be the victim of rape, physical violence,
and/or stalking by an intimate partner in her lifetime. This violence can cause tremendous
physical health problems, as well as trauma-related mental health issues.

We urge Congress to work together in a bipartisan way to not only reauthorize the bill, but also
to improve it and make it work better — particularly for victims who belong to marginalized
groups, this includes Black women and other women of color, LGBT people, indigenous people
and undocumented people. This should be done by putting sufficient resources into community-
based, wrap-around services for survivors and trauma-informed care rather than rely on
mandatory arrests and incarceration that disproportionately hurt communities of color.
Reauthorizing VAWA is a common sense step toward justice and healing for Black women and
survivors of gender-based violence all over the country.”

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Media Contact:

Antonice Jackson
202-370-3630
ajackson@bwhi.org

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