Rep. Gwen Moore on VAWA, shares experience of sexual assault

**Trigger warning**

The House has been hearing testimony and discussing reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA).  In perhaps one of the most powerful moments during the floor speeches, on Wednesday, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI.) spoke about her personal story of being sexually assaulted during her childhood and raped as a young woman.

Rep Moore made the politics personal. As we mentioned in Wendesday’s WWM, she spoke on the House floor about her experience of date-rape:

I don’t have enough time to share all these experiences with you but I can tell you that when this bill came out of the Senate Judiciary Committee with all the Republican Senators, all of the guys voting no, it brought up some terrible memories for me wof having boys sit in a locker room and sort of bet that I, the egghead, couldn’t be ‘had.’ And then the appointed boy, when he saw that I wasn’t going to be so willing , completed a date rape and then took my underwear to display it to the rest of the boys. This is what American women are facing.

As we’ve written about many times in the past few months of VAWA reauthorization debate, the bill is facing opposition from some members of Congress. It’s also facing procedural hurdles, as Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have not allowed Democrats to bring up the VAWA as a standalone bill. In response, Democrats tried to attach the bill to the vote on the GOP budget proposal on Wednesday afternoon. But with a unanimous vote, Republicans ended the debate on the budget bill before Democrats could attach VAWA.

The Violence Against Women Act would renew grants to U.S. domestic violence prevention and survivor support programs, would increase availability of legal assistance to victims and would extend assistance to battered undocumented immigrants and same-sex couples. Since Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee have not allowed Democrats to bring up the VAWA as a standalone bill, Democrats tried to attach it to the vote on the GOP budget proposal on Wednesday afternoon. But Republicans voted unanimously to end debate on the budget bill before Democrats could do so.

While some Senate Republicans have pledged their support for reauthorizing the VAWA, others have pointed to some elements of it that they find too controversial. Specifically, the fact that the bill creates avenues for battered undocumented immigrants to claim temporary visas and extends domestic violence protections to same-sex couples. Because apparently, for some House Republicans, violence against immigrant women and LGBT folks isn’t worthy of the same support.

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