1 is 2 Many Blog

  • Together We Must End Dating Violence

    Vice President Biden with Ann Burke at the Naval Observatory

    Vice President Biden with Ann Burke at a reception to mark the 17th anniversary of the passage of the Violence Against Women Act at the Naval Observatory, September 13th, 2012 (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)

    Over the past month, college newspapers across the country have run an op-ed penned by Vice President Biden in which he urges college students to take action to help put an end to dating violence and sexual assault on their campuses. February is Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, and Vice President Biden took the opportunity to remind students that dating violence is still a very real problem in our country. 

    The facts are clear: nearly one in five college women will be the victim of a sexual assault, and one in ten teens will be hurt by someone they are dating. As the Vice President wrote, these are not merely statistics, “these are the people you know: your roommates, your friends, your sisters, and your classmates.” 

    As the Vice President has often said, we all have an absolute obligation to try to stop abuse when we see it – no matter what. That’s why this Administration is working so hard to confront the problem head on. 

    Last April, new standards were announced that make it clear that colleges are responsible for creating campus environments that refuse to tolerate dating violence. And in September, the Vice President launched the “1 is 2 Many” project – an effort to change attitudes that lead to violence and educate the public on the realities of abuse. 

  • Senate Judiciary Committee Passes Violence Against Women Act

    On February 2, the Senate Judiciary Committee passed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). Even though VAWA has a bipartisan group of co-sponsors, the eight Republicans on the committee voted against this critical piece of legislation. Now the Act goes to the full Senate for consideration. 

    First authored by then Senator Biden in 1994, VAWA provides funding to states and local communities to improve the criminal justice response to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.  VAWA supports specialized law enforcement units to investigate these crimes and helps prosecutors get dangerous offenders off the streets. VAWA also protects victims living in subsidized housing from being evicted after suffering domestic violence, supports training for health care providers, and brings help to victims in rural areas of the country.  The hallmark of VAWA is the coordinated community response, bringing different agencies together to create a seamless approach to combating violence. 

    One day’s look at the headlines tells us why we still need VAWA. Domestic violence often spills into streets, workplaces, and communities, and is estimated to cost our nation 8 billion dollars a year in lost productivity and health care costs. This violence causes more than two million injuries each year, three deaths each day, and untold amounts of suffering to women. The hidden crime of stalking affects 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men, and sexual assault remains the most underreported violent crime in the country. 1 in 5 women and 1 in 71 men have been sexually assaulted at some time in their lives, most before the age of 18. 

    It's fitting that the Senate Judiciary Committee took up VAWA during Teen Dating Violence Prevention and Awareness Month, because teens and young adults are at THE highest risk for this violence. The proposed legislation provides funding to schools, youth groups, and victim service agencies to develop new strategies to intervene in and prevent dating violence and sexual assault. If we can stop violence in this generation, some day we won’t need these services. But today, the need is still urgent. We need the full Senate to approve VAWA reauthorization and for Congress to send this legislation to President Obama to sign into law this year.

  • Raising Awareness About Stalking

    January is Stalking Awareness Month, and it’s an important to highlight a crime that is often invisible. According to the latest data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 1 in 6 women and 1 in 19 men will be stalked in their lifetimes. Young women ages 18-19 experience the highest rates of stalking. The fears, threats and intimidation endured by victims is often felt by family members as well.

    To mark this important month, this week we hosted the first ever White House stalking roundtable with survivors, law enforcement officers, victim advocates, and researchers. We learned from law enforcement experts that while many victims are stalked by ex-partners, others can be stalked by acquaintances and even strangers. Stalkers often track their victims’ daily lives and make themselves known in ways that are scary and unpredictable. Stalking can force victims to change everything about their lives in order to be safe.

    I commend the bravery of two survivors who shared their stories. One woman was stalked by an ex-husband while another was stalked over a long period of time by someone she barely knew. Both were terrorized through cyber stalking and a range of strategies designed to keep them on constant edge and make them feel afraid every day. The stalking extended to family members and children, making it even more terrifying. Their stories put a human face on the statistics and helped us understand the true personal cost of stalking.

  • Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

    Today, Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced bipartisan legislation to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).

    First championed in 1994 by then-Senator Biden, VAWA transformed the nation’s response to domestic violence and sexual assault. VAWA has provided funding to states and local communities to develop specialized law enforcement units, provide services to victims, and improve prosecution of these crimes. Since the passage of the Act, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped by more than 50%.

    While tremendous progress has been made, violence is still a significant problem facing women, men, families, and communities.  Three women die every day at the hands of husbands or boyfriends. Domestic violence causes two million injuries a year to women and untold amounts of human suffering. Domestic violence shelters are still full, hotlines are ringing, and for every victim who has come forward, many more are suffering alone. And it’s the nation’s youth who are most at risk – young women between the ages of 16-24 suffer from the highest rates of dating violence and sexual assault.

  • Regional Town Hall Meetings Focus on Engaging Men in Ending Violence Against Women

    In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness month, the Department of Education, the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development collaborated to hold ten town hall events throughout the country on the topic of Engaging Men and Boys in Ending Violence Against Women.

    These town halls provided a unique opportunity for federal and community partners to participate in important discussions regarding the inclusion of men in ending violence against women and helped to further the efforts of those working tirelessly for this cause in local and regional communities across the nation.

  • Domestic Violence Awareness Month Around the Country

    Lynn Rosenthal DV

    In honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Lynn Rosenthal, left, moderates a 'Champions of Change' event to honor 14 individuals and organizations, from across the country, that are focused on ending domestic violence in their communities. (Photo by Riana Lynn) October 20, 2011.

    This October, Domestic Violence Awareness Month took me around the country to participate in a variety of listening sessions, conferences, and local events. In many of the communities I visited, I hosted roundtable meetings with local domestic violence advocates to hear about their successes in the field as well as the challenges they are facing every day.

     In early October, I traveled to Radnor, Pennsylvania to give an address at the Cabrini College Domestic Violence Symposium. The Symposium was part of Cabrini College’s broader initiatives on domestic violence education. While passing through Philadelphia, I had the chance to meet with local advocates who serve the Philadelphia community and bring their concerns back to the White House.

    Later that week, I returned to Washington D.C.  to participate in a panel at the Center for American Progress (CAP) on domestic violence safety and services in communities of color, discuss violence against women efforts at the World Bank, and participate in an Interagency Meeting and Listening Session for Tribal Leaders at the White House.