In 1978, I gathered with a group of activists, mostly women and a few good men, to form the Battered Women Task Force in Topeka. We begged for funds to start a shelter for the abused women that kept pouring in asking for help. We housed them in homes, an old nursing home, local motels, and finally got enough funding together for a shelter. We begged the city council, the state legislature, the Attorney General and a variety of agencies for funding support but, the funds were always at risk of being cut off.
Finally, in 1994, Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act which has provided funds to fight domestic violence and sexual assault, and has increased criminal penalties against perpetrators. The legislation authorizes a series of grants that provide funding to local law enforcement to combat domestic and sexual violence, as well as shelters and advocacy programs that assist victims.
Working with victims of domestic violence and sexual assault is never easy, but the VAWA, when coupled with state and local funding, gave sufficient resources to provide the kind of services victims need to make permanent changes in their lives.
Now there are Republicans in Congress vowing not to reauthorize this law. The vote in the United States Senate was encouraging – 68-31, but our Kansas Senators, Moran and Roberts voted NO!
This landmark law has decreased the annual incidence of domestic violence by more than 50 percent since its passage.
I could go on about its importance to women who need the services, and the communities in our state which depend on this network of shelter programs to aid law enforcement.
Instead, I am simply asking you to support the Kansas Democratic Party in our efforts to recruit candidates for Congress and the state legislature who understand the importance to all women of maintaining this service.
Kansas women deserve better. Please make a contribution to the Kansas Democratic Party and help us tell Congress that women deserve better.
State Party Chair,
Kansas Democratic Party