As posted on Fortune.
Many women live in constant fear for their safety. We all know the statistics, through our mothers, daughters, friends, and coworkers. One in five women has been sexually assaulted, and one in three has experienced mental and emotional abuse in a relationship during her lifetime, according to academic research and surveys by federal health agencies. To put a finer—and more troubling—point on it, one in four women will be the victim of violence from a partner during her lifetime.
All of us—companies, communities, and yes, lawmakers—need to do more. Violence against women is a major public health problem and violation of human rights that needs to be acknowledged and must be urgently addressed if we truly want our daughters to grow up in a more equitable society. That is why I am urging lawmakers from across the political spectrum to forge a compromise so that we can swiftly pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, a critical federal law that protects survivors and uses grants to help fund programs to assist in their recovery.
While rates of intimate partner violence have reportedly dropped by 60% since the passage of the Violence Against Women Act, we know these incidents are widely underreported and there is still much work to do to combat this behavior while also providing essential support to survivors. Congress has recognized this, which is why it reauthorized this legislation three times with broad bipartisan majorities. Now, it is up for reauthorization again.
While the core protections enshrined in the Violence Against Women Act remain in place, the funding for the grant programs are in jeopardy. The long delay in reauthorizing this law will result in funding shortfalls that jeopardize its ability to protect women. It is time to get this done, to ensure key initiatives such as the survivor support program remain funded and intact.
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