Citizens for Josh Mandel
50 West Broad Street
Columbus, OH 43215
To Josh Mandel:
We are writing to express our extreme disappointment in your refusal to support S.1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011 (VAWA), that passed the Senate last week on a bipartisan basis. Since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has dramatically changed the way our communities respond to domestic violence, and Democrats and Republicans agree that the law has made great strides in protecting women and families in Ohio and across the country.
According to the National Domestic Violence Hotline, since 1994, VAWA has been reauthorized twice and in both cases, it was improved and fine-tuned to better meet the needs of domestic violence victims. These reauthorizations were bipartisan and they made key updates to the law, including adding protections for dating violence and stalking in 2000 and establishing the first federal funding allocation for rape crisis centers in 2005. Now, in 2012, it is time to update this law again to ensure we are doing everything possible to protect Ohio families.
In Ohio last year alone, there were more than 38,000 reported incidents of domestic violence. That is a shocking number, but we must remember that it is more than just a number – it is real people and real lives. That figure represents women, mothers, daughters, sisters, girlfriends and wives who have gone to sleep at night unsure of how to protect their families and themselves, who fear the consequences of walking away, and who wake up each morning with the simple desire to tuck their children safely into bed that night.
As state legislators in Ohio, we are working tirelessly to improve responses to domestic violence and ultimately prevent it entirely. We need a strong partner in the U.S. Senate, and we are proud to thank U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown for his support of the Violence Against Women Act last week and throughout his time in Congress.
It is troubling and upsetting to know that had you been in the Senate last week, you would have put extreme partisan politics ahead of Ohio’s women and families and voted NO on S. 1925, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization.
Whether it is the police officer funded by VAWA, the counselor or clinic that receives training through VAWA, or the shelter that can open its doors tonight to just one more woman because of VAWA, the point is unmistakably clear – Ohio women and families need the Violence Against Women Act. What we certainly do not need is the type of partisan pandering you have demonstrated that threatens our health, safety and well-being.
State Representative Tracy Maxwell Heard, Minority Whip
State Representative Debbie Phillips, Assistant Minority Whip
State Representative Nickie J. Antonio
State Representative Kathleen Clyde
State Representative Denise Driehaus
State Representative Teresa Fedor
State Representative Nancy Garland
State Representative Connie Pillich
State Representative Sandra Williams