With the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expiring at the end of September, the two congresswomen in charge of the Congressional Caucus for Women’s Issues are calling on the leaders of the U.S. House to provide additional funding for the program.
On Monday, U.S. Rep. Susan Brooks, R-Ind., and U.S. Rep. Lois Frankel, D-Fla., wrote to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan, R-Wisc., and U.S. House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., on the matter.
The congresswomen pointed to how the VAWA has impacted Americans since being launched back in 1994.
“Since VAWA was first passed in 1994, serious victimization by an intimate partner declined by 72 percent for women and 64 percent for men,” Frankel’s office noted. “However, it is estimated that as many as 45 million adults experience physical violence, rape and/or stalking by an intimate partner at some point in their lives.
“In addition to the emotional toll, this issue [violence against women] has great economic impacts for our country,” Brooks and Frankel wrote. “Recent studies report the financial cost of rape to be more than $120,000 per victim with more than half of that cost coming from the lost workforce productivity. We believe it is critical to invest in increased prevention services in the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, scheduled to expire at the end of this fiscal year, so we can ultimately stop this cycle of violence before it begins.”
Brooks and Frankel were named to lead the caucus at the end of 2016. In 2015 and 2016, Frankel and Brooks served as the co-vice chairs of the caucus.
The caucus, which celebrated its 40th anniversary last year, has focused on issues regarding womens health, economic opportunities and protecting women from domestic abuse and sexual assault.
First elected to Congress in 2012, Frankel has been active in Florida politics for decades, including leading Democrats in the state House and serving two terms as mayor of West Palm Beach. During her time in Washington, Frankel has served on the Foreign Affairs and Transportation and Infrastructure Committees and has risen up the ranks with the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). Frankel is already guaranteed another term as she faces no opposition in November.