We count on the law to protect us. But when beneficial laws lapse, we expect our representatives to ensure we remain protected. Unfortunately, political agendas can eclipse and stall even the most needed legislation. It is under circumstances that we must remind our representatives of what is important to us.
The famous singer Katy Perry was the victim of a stalker, which may not be unusual for a pop star, but still represents a serious crime that needs attention. The police put a restraining order on her stalker, William Edward Terry; however, when Mr. Terry failed to show at his court date, there were no repercussions for his crimes and no protection for Ms. Perry.
Thankfully, there is a law to protect people from stalkers. In 1994, the Clinton administration passed the Violence Against Women Act, which defines strict penalties for crimes against women and sets aside funds to ensure enforcement of the law. Unfortunately, with the Republican controlled White House and U.S. Senate from 2016–2020, the law lapsed. Mitch McConnel refused to bring the vote to the floor multiple times, leaving women across the country at risk.
With President-Elect Joseph Biden taking the White House, there is hope that he will renew the law. During the Obama administration, Vice President Biden created the first White House Advisor staff position on Violence Against Women. He also launched a national campaign to change the culture around sexual assault and college campus rape.
It is our responsibility to make our voices heard and to advocate for what we need. We must explicitly tell our legislators what is important to us and what we want them to spend their time on.
Not taking action to renew the Violence Against Women Act will put countless women at risk. We can’t let that happen. That is why I am calling on our President Joseph Biden to pursue the matter. I hope you will also reach out to your elected officials to do the same. A voice unspoken is a voice unheard.