President Obama signed an enhanced version of the 1994 Violence Against Women act, earlier today. The expanded legislations offers more protection for women who are victims of domestic abuse, and s-xual assault.
The adjusted version will provide $659 million in federal aid over five years to fund shelters and hotlines for victims, and make it easier to prosecute crimes against women, on a federal level.
“All women deserve the right to live free from fear,” Obama said during the ceremony. “That’s what today is about.”
Today’s event was a victory for Native Americans, gays, and immigrant women as well.
The Associated Press reports:
The revitalized Violence Against Women Act also marked an important win for gay rights advocates and Native Americans, who will see new protections under the law, and for Obama, whose attempts to push for a renewal failed last year after they became entangled in gender politics and the presidential election.
“This is your day. This is the day of the advocates, the day of the survivors. This is your victory,” Obama said. “This victory shows that when the American people make their voices heard, Washington listens.”
As Obama prepared to put his pen to the new law, new government data underscored both the progress that has been made and the enduring need to do more.
A survey conducted in 2011 found that one in four women admitted to being beaten by their partner, one in six said that they have been stalked, and one in five women reported being a victim r@pe, or attempted r@pe at some point.
However, a newly released poll, courtesy of the U.S. Justice Department stated that s-xual violence against females 12 and older, dropped 64 percent in a decade. The number has remained stable over the last five years.
Vice President Joe Biden originally drafted the Violence Against Women Act, which passed with support from both Democrats and Republicans.
See photos from the ceremony below, and other shots of the president’s week.
Photo: Manuel Balce Ceneta/Pete Souza