A blog carnival is beginning today in support of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID). A Senate briefing was held last week on VAWA, which is due to expire at the end of this year. The legislation is scheduled to be marked up in the Senate committee on Thursday.

VAWA was originally drafted by then-Senator Joe Biden and was signed into law in 1994. It was then reauthorized by Congress in both 2000 and 2005. The law has thus far allocated more than $9 billion to improve federal, state, and local-level investigation and prosecution of domestic violence, rape and sexual assault and to provide support for prevention, education, temporary shelters, rape crisis centers and community services for survivors.

It is estimated that every nine seconds, a woman is abused in the United States and nearly one-third of women in the United States report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some time in their lives. Since the passage of VAWA, the rate of intimate partner violence has dropped by 53 percent. A summary of the blog posts will appear at www.HERvotes.us

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