Prior to VAWA, in many states physical and sexual violence against a woman by someone she knew was not considered as serious a crime as was an attack by a stranger. Thinking about it now, it's hard to believe.
The American public's cynicism about Washington can diminish when bipartisanship prevails and bills become law. The most recent example of this was the signing into law of the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act by President Obama yesterday, July 22.
As a key player in shaping global development priorities -- priorities that include education, health care, food security, economic empowerment and ending violence against women and girls -- the United States has an important role in ending early and forced marriage worldwide.
By branding domestic violence and sexual assault, we aim to engage the general public to understand that, like other health issues -- cancer, heart disease -- domestic violence and sexual assault need to be more of a priority.
With the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act, thousands of law enforcement officers will be better equipped to stop violence before it starts, and respond to calls of help when they are needed.
With today's vote on VAWA, the House has an opportunity to renew our nation's commitment to do everything we can to protect our sisters, daughters, nieces, mothers, and grandmothers from violence. I hope we take it.