October 2, 2014

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today Congresswoman Jackie Speier (D-San Francisco/San Mateo Counties) released the following statement on the beginning of Domestic Violence Awareness Month:

“October is an opportunity to reflect on the devastating impact of domestic violence. Each year, domestic violence causes more injuries to women than auto accidents, rapes, and muggings combined. On average, 24 Americans each minute are victims of physical violence by an intimate partner. What is truly frightening about this statistic is that this is progress – domestic violence has actually decreased by 67% since 1994.

This year marked the 20th anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which has provided critical services for domestic violence survivors. The law has funded providers like the San Mateo-based agency Community Overcoming Relationship Abuse (CORA) where more than 10,000 victims of abuse are helped each year. I proudly voted to renew VAWA in 2013, and I will continue to champion legislative efforts like this to protect women across the country.

I have worked on this issue for decades, from the state legislature to Congress, and I know that while we’ve made improvements, we can and must do better. Today we face an epidemic of sexual assault in our military and on our college campuses. More than two-thirds of domestic violence shelters faced budget cuts in recent years while were met with overwhelming demand for services. In fact, there are nearly twice as many animal shelters as domestic violence shelters in this country. One survey found more than 9,000 women and children are turned away from shelters each day. We must better address these issues by punishing perpetrators, addressing the needs of survivors, and changing our national culture.

Last week, in the wake of several high-profile domestic violence cases, I sent letters to the NFL and five NFL teams urging them to change their policies to bench players arrested for domestic violence until their legal proceedings end. This change would show millions of football fans that there is no place for domestic violence.

These conversations about domestic violence must continue in the United States and abroad. Seven in 10 women around the world experience physical or sexual violence in their lifetime. Emma Watson’s speech at the United Nations,the kidnapping of more than 200 girls in Nigeria’s Borno State, and Malala Yousafzai’s powerful work in education are only the latest examples showing that equality, respect, and safety are pervasive issues for women throughout the world.

I am committed to protecting women, men, and children from abuse in all forms. Whether it is in the civilian world, the workplace, the military, or the university, appropriate systems must be in place to help victims and hold abusers accountable for their crimes.”