Joyful Heart in the News

Actress Mariska Hargitay: Violence Against Women Act Saves Lives (Video)

April 26th, 2012
The New Civil Rights Movement
David Badash

Mariska Hargitay, best known for her role on TV’s “Law And Order,” says in this video that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) saves lives, and adds that “restricting it to only some members of our community” defeats its purpose. Hargitay, an Emmy Award winner and daughter of the late actress Jayne Mansfield, is also the founder of and president of the Joyful Heart Foundation, which helps women who have been sexually abused.

“Over the past several months, Senators from both parties have waged a dismaying battle over provisions in S.1925 regarding protections for members of the LGBTQ, immigrant and Native American communities,”  Hargitay writes in an op-ed at The Huffington Post.

Partisan maneuvering must not derail an opportunity to hold defendants accountable, to prevent future violence, and to keep members of these communities safe and, if they suffer horrible trauma, provide them with the life-saving and transformative services they deserve.

Restricting VAWA’s protections only to certain members of our communities will defeat its very purpose — to end sexual and domestic violence and the suffering they bring. These restrictions also hamper the criminal justice system’s ability to prosecute defendants and prevent future crimes. We must not allow political arguments to erode the progress our country has made toward that goal in the seventeen years since VAWA became law.

VAWA has protected, improved and restored lives. Reauthorization sends the message that our communities, our families — and all people — must be safe; that survivors must have the tools to heal and reclaim their lives; that we must engage the next generation in this effort — and that breaking the cycle of violence is an unassailable national priority. To send any other message is unconscionable.

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