On Thursday, March 7th, President Barack Obama signed the expanded Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) on the eve of International Women’s Day. The signing of the bill took place at the Department of the Interior, with Vice President Joe Biden speaking first before introducing Mr. Obama. One of the many key highlights of the bill includes the strengthening of laws that protect against dating violence, sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking. Added resources will also be provided to survivors of violent acts, giving the Act a much-needed boost after going in to effect in 1994.
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Mr. Biden was introduced by Diane Millich, executive director of Our Sister’s Keeper, an organization she founded in 2007 to decrease violence against Native American women. The Vice President opened up with remarks regarding the signing of the historic act, recalling his work alongside Michigan congressman John Conyers on the bill.
Mr. Biden’s remarks:
Those of you who have been around a while with me know that I quote my father all the time who literally would say, the greatest sin that could be committed, the cardinal sin of all sins was the abuse of power, and the ultimate abuse of power is for someone physically stronger and bigger to raise their hand and strike and beat someone else. In most cases that tends to be a man striking a woman, or a man or woman striking a child. That’s the fundamental premise and the overarching reason why John Conyers and I and others started so many years ago to draft the legislation called the Violence Against Women Act.
After raucous applause for his opening statement, Biden gave the floor to Mr. Obama and the President immediately charmed the crowd with bits of humor and stirring conviction. The President also artfully mentioned Hadiya Pendleton, a young Chicago high school student killed in a random act of gun violence in January.
President Barack Obama’s remarks: