Republicans allowed the Violence Against Women Act to expire because of their insistence on funding the border wall. The expiration prevents programs for survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault from being funded moving forward.
Joe Biden sponsored VAWA in 1994 as a senator. The act strengthened penalties for rapists, blocked defendants from using survivors’ sexual history against them in court and ensured that survivors never pay for their own rape exams.
“There will always be some man raising his hand to someone weaker physically, whether it’s a woman or a child of another man,” Biden stated in 2014. “But success will come when the societal attitude changes and not a single woman in America asks herself the question, ‘What did I do?’”
Since the law’s passage we’ve seen a 67% decrease in the rate of intimate partner violence between 1993 and 2010, a 35% decrease in intimate partner homicides of women from 1993 to 2007. More survivors reported violence to police and more arrests were made.
Both House and Senate tried to extend VAWA’s funding until February 2019 but Trump refused any spending deal that didn’t pay for the wall. Currently the government is still shut down over argument regarding the wall and funding.