Nation's Largest Jewish Organization Praises House Reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Bethany Gotkin, (202) 387-2800
Saperstein: "Domestic violence and sexual assault are not problems that will simply disappear from our homes and communities; they are evils that we must work every day to eradicate."
WASHINGTON, September 26, 2000 - Reacting to the House of Representative's nearly unanimous vote today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (H.R. 1248), Rabbi David Saperstein, Director of the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, issued the following statement:
We join together with Americans everywhere to commend the House of Representatives for their important step today toward the eradication of domestic violence. In 1998 alone, women throughout the United States experienced an estimated 876,340 violent offenses at the hands of an intimate. These reprehensible acts affect women regardless of class, race, or religion, and are found in the home, the workplace, at school, in every arena of life.
Violence Against Women Act has already made a difference in thousands of women's lives - bolstering prosecution of domestic violence, sexual assault and child abuse offenders; increasing victim services; increasing resources for law enforcement and creating a National Domestic Violence Hotline.
We have a moral and ethical responsibility to work for a world without violence. We are commanded not to stand idly by while our neighbor bleeds, and we are taught that mental anguish and moral degradation are the equivalent of physical harm. When we ignore violence, we are complicit in perpetuating it.
Domestic violence and sexual assault are not problems that will simply disappear from our homes and communities; they are evils that we must work every day to eradicate. On behalf of the Reform Movement of Judaism, North America's largest organized Jewish community, we applaud the House of Representatives' vote today to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act. The work, however, is far from completed. Time is running out for thousands of women across the United States. We therefore urge the Senate to bring VAWA to the floor and show its support for its reauthorization, and we pray that the House and Senate will work together to pass a comprehensive reauthorization.
The Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism is the Washington office of the Union of American Hebrew Congregations (UAHC), whose 900 congregations across North America encompass 1.5 million Reform Jews, and the Central Conference of American Rabbis (CCAR) whose membership includes over 1700 Reform rabbis.