01/15/2013 03:21 pm ET Updated Mar 17, 2013

Americans Cannot Afford Another Day of Delay: Congress Must Pass VAWA

Since House Republicans let the Violence Against Women Act expire, thousands of women and girls have been assaulted in America -- some without recourse. It is time for America to act and for the media to do their part.

According to Sen. Patty Murray, "every single minute, 24 people across America are victims of violence by an intimate partner -- more than 12 million every year."

Every 2 minutes, someone is sexually assaulted in America -- an average of 207,754 victims (age 12 or older) of rape and sexual assault each year plus around another 20,000 children 11 or younger.

These statistics tell us that in the first two weeks of 2013 --the first two weeks without a federal Violence Against Women Act -- over 480,000 acts of violence by an intimate partner have been committed, and over 10,000 Americans were sexually assaulted.

Every two weeks in America, another 480,000 domestic violence acts and 10,800 sexual assaults will be committed -- and without a federal Violence Against Women Act, some will go unpunished.

If you are outraged about this do not let Congress -- or the media -- off the hook.

As Media Matters reports in "Network News Shows Ignore House GOP Failure To Reauthorize Violence Against Women Act," major networks refused to report need for action before House Republicans let the VAWA expire.

Yes, this is the same media where "if it bleeds it leads." Networks lead newscast after newscast with acts of domestic violence and sexual assault -- but when Congress actually has a chance to stop the bleeding the networks go silent. Domestic violence and sexual assault survivors already face a conspiracy of violence from victim blamers and slut shamers -- the media need not make matters worse.

As we await President Obama's plan for reducing gun violence, let's not forget the vital role that reauthorizing Vice President Biden's Violence Against Women Act, with its emphasis on updating domestic violence restraining orders into the NICS background checks system, can play in saving lives and pursuing justice.

Don't let another 2 weeks of 480,000 domestic violence acts and 10,800 sexual assaults go by.
Don't let another day of 34,500 domestic violence acts and 720 sexual assaults go by.

Call your member of Congress at (202) 224-3121 and urge them to revive the Violence Against Women Act. And contact your local news editors and tell hem the next time they report on violence against women they should also report on the solutions. Americans cannot afford another day of delay -- Congress must pass VAWA today.