State Rep. Mae Flexer, chair of the Domestic Violence Task Force, hosted a roundtable discussion Tuesday with U.S. Rep. John Larson, CT Coalition Against Domestic Violence, and CT Sexual Assault Crisis Services to discuss the importance of renewing the Violence Against Women Act, which expired two years ago.
Larson was an original author of VAWA, a 1994 piece of legislation that provides funds and resources directed towards aiding victims and prosecuting perpetrators of domestic violence. Congress has struggled to re-authorize an expanded version that would help cover Native Americans, immigrants and LGBT victims. The Senate recently passed a VAWA reauthorization that includes those expansions, and is awaiting action in the House.
During the roundtable Tuesday, Rep. Flexer channeled the anger of legislators demanding action on Hurricane Sandy relief last month and said these type of resources–which serve nearly 60,000 victims of domestic violence in the state–are just as important.
“VAWA’s been sitting on the table in Washington for two years. Two years. There was a lot of outrage when Congress didn’t act on Sandy relief. I want to know where the outrage is on this issue,” she said at the roundtable. “Where is the outrage that in Washington this bill continues to sit there and not get worked on?”
Larson agreed, and urged her and others to write to all the moderate Republicans who stood up to the far-right caucus and voted for Sandy relief.
“You can say it no better than Chris Christie,” said Larson, mentioning New Jersey’s Republican governor who criticized his own party in the House for not acting quickly on Sandy aid. “It is time to grow up and act in the interest of the country and the citizens who are sworn to serve, and the most vulnerable amongst us who we are to protect,”