Angelina Jolie makes emotional plea for Violence Against Women Act
Angelina Jolie teared up as she urged lawmakers to pass the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), saying it’s “one of the most important votes U.S. senators will cast this year.”
The “Eternals” star appeared at a news conference at the Capitol on Wednesday alongside a bipartisan group of senators as they announced a deal had been struck to renew the legislation.
“Standing here at the center of our nation’s power, I can think only of everyone who has been made to feel powerless by their abusers by a system that failed to protect them,” Jolie said.
“The reason that many people struggle to leave abusive situations is that they’ve been made to feel worthless. When there is silence from a Congress too busy to renew the Violence Against Women Act for a decade, it reenforces that sense of worthlessness.”
The Academy Award winner has been a frequent presence on Capitol Hill in recent months. Jolie met with lawmakers in trips to Washington in September and December of last year to urge reauthorization of the VAWA.
The House passed legislation last March to reauthorize the bill, which would provide grants for state and local governments that are working to address sexual assault, domestic abuse and dating violence and stalking through different programs.
“The ugly truth is that violence in homes is normalized in our country,” Jolie said on Wednesday.
“There are people in this room who have suffered abuse and been denied justice that have worked for years to ensure that this VAWA reauthorization achieves certain basic protections that no survivors should have to ask for, like Kayden’s Law, or funding for non-racially biased forensic evidence collection, or the jurisdiction to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of sexual assault, child abuse and sex trafficking on tribal land,” added Jolie, 46. “These protections are urgently needed.”
Jolie, a special envoy to the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, paused and as her voice broke while concluding her remarks, saying, “Most of all, I want to acknowledge the children who are terrified and suffering at this moment, and the many people for whom this legislation comes too late.”
“The women who have suffered through this system with little or no support — they still carry the pain and trauma of their abuse. The young adults who have survived abuse and emerged stronger, not because of the child protective system, but despite it. And the women and children who have died, who could have been saved.”