“Even One Case Is Too Many”: Vice President Biden Marks the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act

Originally published by Tanya Somanader on http://www.whitehouse.gov/ on September 9, 2014—
“Twenty years ago this week, President Clinton signed into law the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) — a landmark law that empowered women and children to expose and prosecute domestic violence. The signing of the law marked the end of an arduous road to pass the legislation and put our society on the path toward effectively combating such heinous abuses. Vice President Joe Biden, then a U.S. Senator, not only authored VAWA, but helped drive it through Congress and deliver it to the President’s desk.

Today, standing in front of the U.S. Constitution at the National Archives, Vice President Biden reflected on how far we’ve come in our ability — and willingness — to address domestic violence:

Even just 20 years ago, few people wanted to talk about violence against women as a national epidemic, let alone something to do something about. No one even back then denied that kicking your wife in the stomach, or smashing her in the face, or pushing her down the stairs in public was repugnant. But our society basically turned a blind eye. And hardly anyone ever intervened, directly intervened — other than my father and a few other people I knew.

And no one — virtually no one called it a crime. It was a family affair. It was a family affair. Laws — state laws when we attempted at a state or a federal level to design laws to prevent actions that were said that we now are celebrating, we were told, I was told, many of us were told that it would cause the disintegration of the family. That was the phrase used. It would cause the disintegration of the family.

“This was the ugliest form of violence that exists,” he said, and though many wanted to see these crimes remain hidden in the shadows, the Vice President was committed to bringing them out into the light. “We had to let the nation know,” he said, “because I was absolutely convinced — and remain absolutely convinced — in the basic decency of the American people, and that if they knew, they would begin to demand change.””

For the original article, please click here.

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