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To The Editor:
Recently, I wrote letters to encourage the public to write or call their senators to pass the Violence Against Women Act. Fortunately, Democratic and Republican senators came together to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The bill they approved would address the high rates of domestic violence committed against Native American women, ensure that LGBT victims have access to services and make college campuses safer places to live and study.
This is in keeping with the tradition of the Violence Against Women Act which puts women's safety above partisan politics. Through its bipartisan vote, the Senate not only acted to preserve the original bill, they improved it, protecting even more women from violence and abuse.
Unfortunately, the bill being considered in the House of Representatives today would do the opposite. It leaves out the important new protections found in the Senate bill, exposing more students, Native Americans and LGBT Americans to the threat of violence.
This particular bill also rolls back existing protections, leaving women less safe. For example, if this bill were to become law, abusive partners would have an easier time using immigration status as a tool to control and further abuse victims. It would eliminate confidentiality
that allows many women to leave their abusive relationships without fear of retaliation. In other words, the bill going through the House right now would leave more women at risk.
Keeping women safe isn't about which political party you support – it's about protecting basic human rights. That's why President Obama’s administration and many others, including myself, recommend that he veto any bill that puts women in harm's way. Please consider making your voice heard about this important piece of legislation by contacting Representative Peter Welch and let him know your concerns.
Susan S. Russell