Among many notable national events since the assumption of power by the new White House administration, such as the recent immigration and refugee ban, the reinstatement and amplification of the global gag rule, threats to strip Sanctuary Cities and States of federal funding, also comes a threat to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).
Since its authorization in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has had an immense impact on our country’s ability to address issues around sexual assault, intimate partner violence, domestic violence, and stalking. Thanks to continued bipartisan reauthorizations, countless numbers of services and resources for survivors across the country are made possible through VAWA. Eliminating or even reducing VAWA’s federal funds would directly reduce resources for and the safety of survivors.
To threaten VAWA funding is to threaten the lives of women and their families everywhere. With recent research showing that one million Oregon women and girls experience sexual or domestic violence, one of the highest rates in the nation, SARC’s work could not be more relevant.
VAWA helps fund a variety of SARC programs and services, including our 24 hour Support Line, providing in-person advocacy response and over-the-phone support to survivors in Washington County day and night. VAWA also funds our work with the Coffee Creek Correctional Facility and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office, implementing measures from the Prison Rape Elimination Act. SARC’s ability to provide on-going confidential Case Management and Mental Health services to survivors free of charge would be severely impacted, should VAWA be cut or diminished. Agencies like SARC not only provide resources and support to survivors, but also educate our communities on issues surrounding sexual violence. We provide training and education to local Law Enforcement agencies, medical professionals, high school students, and more, with the ultimate goal of reducing rates of sexual violence overall.
Beyond the human and moral imperative of VAWA funded resources, the economic benefit of these programs is substantial. Oregon may already be facing a $1.4 billion deficit, so the prospect of losing federal funding for our local services, thereby putting additional burdens on our state budget, will have a great negative impact. The current costs incurred by survivors as a result of rape is estimated to be a total of $127 billion dollars nationally, a number that would only rise should VAWA be stripped. In fact, another study cited in the same article estimated that VAWA funded programs save $14.8 billion in victimization costs, while the act itself only amounts for $1.6 billion in federal spending.
VAWA costs only $15.50 per woman in the US but saves $159 per woman in the US.
So what can you do? Use your voice, your hands, your influence! Use these links below to call and write your representatives to advocate for VAWA. Whenever possible show up in-person to let your elected representatives know that you feel this is critical funding to stand-up for.
Here are links for our House & Senate elected officials: