Women's History Month is starting off quite nicely.
President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act making it easier to prosecute individuals who commit violent crimes against women, such as domestic violence.
The "Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013, (S. 47)" reauthorizes several Violence Against Women Act grant programs through FY 2018; and the Trafficking Victims Protection Act of 2000 through FY 2017 and also protects women on Tribal lands, improves protections for immigrant victims, ensures services for LGBT survivors, and adds important housing protections for victims.
"So today is about all the survivors, all the advocates who are standing on this stage", said President Obama, speaking today from the Department of Interior. "But it’s also about the millions more they represent -- that you represent. It’s about our commitment as a country to address this problem -- in every corner of America, every community, every town, every big city -- as long as it takes. "
The law was first enacted by then Senator Joe Biden and Congressman John Conyers in 1994. The Act initially instituted a hot line where women in distress could call for help, and also provided shelters, and law enforcement officials trained to handled the special needs of victims. a
Said Vice President Biden, "With all the law’s success, there are still too many women in this country who live in fear of violence, who are still prisoners in their own home; too many victims that we have to mourn. We knew from the outset in 1994 that there was much more we could have done at the beginning if we were able to get the votes. But we did what was necessary and important, but we knew more had to be done to reduce domestic violence, domestic violence homicides, to provide new tools, as was just spoken to, to protect Native American women, to address the perplexing rate of dating violence among young women, and so much more."
The Act will also equip college campuses with more tools to educate students about sexual violence.
As the Bill was into law today, the administration will continue the discussion of violence against women when Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls, will participate in a session of White House Office Hours on Twitter to answer questions about the Violence Against Women Act.
Participants can ask questions now with #WHChat, and then follow the Q&A live on Friday, March 8th at 3:45 p.m. ET.
You can join other Women's History Month celebration events across the city. For a listing click here. Add your event by posting in the comment section below.