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Break the cycle of violence
In honor of the 18th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), I wanted to share Vice Pres. Joe Biden's statement released by the White House Sept. 13, 2012.

"Eighteen years ago today, the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was signed into law. It was founded on the basic premise that every woman deserves to be safe from violence, and since its passage, we have made tremendous strides towards achieving that goal. We gave law enforcement and the courts more tools to combat domestic violence and hold offenders accountable. We created a national hotline to direct victims to life-saving assistance. And since VAWA passed, annual rates of domestic violence have dropped by more than 60 percent.

"But we still have much work to do. Three women still die every day as a result of domestic violence. One in five women have been raped, many as teenagers, and one in six women have been victims of stalking. While women and girls face these devastating realities every day, reauthorization of a strengthened VAWA languishes in Congress. VAWA is just as important today as it was when it first became law, and I urge Congress to keep the promise we made to our daughters and our granddaughters on that day — that we would work together to keep them safe."

VAWA provides resources to states to improve training and coordination for police, the courts and prosecutors. It also funds a wide range of victim-services programs, that are essential if we are to ever break the cycle of violence.

No need to call U.S. Sens. Al Franken or Amy Klobuchar, except to thank them. Both were on the forefront of moving the Senate bill through.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. I hope to help all in our communities understand how rampant this issue is. If you think you don't know someone who has experienced domestic violence, think again.
—Judy Swenson