To the editor:
We are writing to express our extreme disappointment in the passage of H.R. 4970 in the U.S. House of Representatives. This bill rolls back protections for victims and does not meet the urgent needs of many victims. Not only did Representatives not listen to Victim Advocates, they did not listen to any of the thousands of organizations and individuals engaged in the work to end violence against women who urged them to vote against the bill. Many Representatives claimed that the provisions in the Senate bill were included to make this a political fight. As a victim advocate, Women's Rural Advocacy Program (WRAP) advocates and volunteers have no interest in such a fight.
We just want to ensure that all victims are protected from abuse and that perpetrators are held accountable. And make no mistake, H.R. 4970 is not a bill that is supported by the WRAP organization and it does not address many of the most pressing needs of victims.
The House had the opportunity but failed to take up the bipartisan Senate bill that enjoyed the support of thousands of victim-centered organizations working to end domestic and sexual violence. We urge the House and the Senate to come together to pass a bipartisan bill that builds upon VAWA's (Violence Against Women Act) strengths, moves the legislation forward and meets the urgent needs of victims. Victims need VAWA to pass with protections and services for all!
Karen Brady, Tammy Pitzl,
Justine Tweit and Sylvia Patton
Women's Rural Advocacy Program
staff and board members