Our Most Important Mission Ever: Stop Violence Against Women Now
By Julia Savacool
In honor of our second annual "It's Time to Talk" campaign, nine U.S. senators and 14 representatives join Marie Claire and Liz Claiborne to end violence against women. These elected officials are introducing a reauthorization bill, with better laws and prevention programs, to replace it, to ensure that no man ever has a right to hurt you & and if he does, you have a right to fight back.
"I grew up with an extremely abusive father. As a mother, I wanted to protect my own children from exposure to violence. When I found out one of my daughters was in an abusive relationship, it broke my heart. Finally, she left him ‑- but only after his abuse started spreading to the children."
--Rep. Ginny Brown-Waite, Florida
"My niece was a sexual-assault victim. My sister is a survivor of domestic violence. We have more shelters for animals than for battered women. That's not the message we should be sending."
--Rep. Hilda Solis, California
"Violence against women is not random or anonymous. In West Virginia, 88 percent of sexual-assault victims already know their attacker. In my hometown, Alicia McCormick, an advocate for our domestic-violence shelter at the YWCA, was killed in her home by a man doing handiwork in her apartment complex. That one of my greatest advocates could fall victim to something she fought against her whole life was a tragedy that moved me to action."
--Rep. Shelley Moore Capito, West Virginia
"It's not enough for women to speak out on the issue ‑- for the message to be strong and consistent, women's voices must be backed up by men's."
--Rep. John Conyers, Jr., Michigan
"It's still hard for me to talk about the day I visited a shelter for children who were victims of a domestic-violence household. The kinds of abuse they had suffered, and what it had done to them physically and emotionally ‑- I don't have words for what I saw. This has to stop."
--Sen. Mike Crapo, Idaho
"The Violence Against Women Act protects the lives of tens of thousands of domestic violence victims. But the U.S. must also support gender equality around the world, and that means acknowledging that some nations we consider to be our friends are no friends to women. For example, domestic violence is not regarded as a crime in Saudi Arabia. The United States should not have 'normal' relations with nations that treat women as second-class citizens."
--Sen. Barbara Boxer, California
"In rural areas of America, there is a growing increase in poverty, homelessness and hunger. You cannot separate these factors from domestic violence ‑- a mother with three kids and no financial security is going to stiffen her lip and take the abuse, because not only does she have nowhere else to go, she has three children depending on her for survival."
--Sen. Blanche Lincoln, Arkansas
"It is difficult to get Latina and Asian women to speak out. We must make it clear it's not their problem, it's our problem. We need magazines like this one to keep talking about the issue. And know that we women in Congress are with you 100 percent."
--Rep. Juanita Millender-McDonald, California
"If the numbers we see in domestic violence were applied to terrorism or gang violence, the entire country would be up in arms, and it would be the lead story on the news every night."
--Rep. Mark Green, Wisconsin