Angelina Jolie wept as she pleaded with Congress to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), calling it “one of the most critical votes U.S. senators will cast this year.”
The news: On Wednesday, the “Eternals” star attended a press conference at the Capitol with a bipartisan group of senators to announce that an agreement had been reached to reauthorize the legislation.
What she said: “Standing here at the epicentre of our nation’s power, I can only think of everyone who has been kept powerless by their abusers and a system that has failed to protect them,” Jolie said.
- Many people find it difficult to leave abusive situations because they have been made to feel worthless. When Congress is too preoccupied to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for another ten years, it reinforces that sense of worthlessness.”
- In recent months, the Academy Award winner has been a frequent visitor to Capitol Hill. Jolie travelled to Washington in September and December of last year to lobby for the VAWA to be reauthorized.
- Last March, the House passed legislation reauthorizing the bill, which would offer money to state and local governments working to combat sexual assault, domestic abuse, dating violence, and stalking through various programmes.
- Many people struggle to leave violent relationships for a variety of reasons. The sad reality is that domestic abuse has become commonplace in our country,” Jolie stated on Wednesday.
- “There are people in this room who have been victims of abuse and have been denied justice, who have worked for years to ensure that this VAWA reauthorization achieves certain basic protections that no survivors should have to ask for, like Kayden’s Law, or funding for non-racially biased forensic evidence collection, or the jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse, and sex trafficking on tribal land,” Jolie, 46, added. “These safeguards are desperately needed.”
- Jolie, who serves as a special envoy for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, paused before concluding her remarks, saying, “The women who have suffered through this system with little or no support – they still carry the pain and trauma of their abuse.”
“I want to acknowledge the children who are terrified and suffering right now, and the many people for whom this legislation comes too late. The young adults who have survived abuse and come out stronger are doing so against, not because of, the child protective system. And the women and children who have died, who may have been saved.”