Iowa Senator Joni Ernst appeared with colleagues from both parties Wednesday to introduced the bipartisan bill reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act.
Ernst says it is something she has been working on for more than three years. “I’m a survivor. I know firsthand what happens when someone you trust abuses you. In college, I worked at a victim’s shelter answering the hotline, and I’ve heard heartbreaking stories of abuse,” Ernst says.
Ernst says the bill brings survivors the help they need — particularly in rural areas. “These resources will help rural survivors who are so often forgotten,” she says. Ernst says the bill not only helps survivors — but also looks to prevent sexual assault.
“We have increased support for the rape prevention and education program. Instead of reacting to these horrific crimes, this program works to prevent them from happening in the first place,” Ernst says. She says they have also included a bipartisan bill that ensures those who abuse women in custody don’t avoid justice.
Democrat Senators Dianne Feinstein of California and Dick Durbin of Illinois, who are on the Senate Judiciary Committee, were among those joining Ernst. “Folks I’ve said time and again throughout this process, I want to come to a solution that won’t just be a political talking point for one side or the other. But a bill that can gain bipartisan support needed to pass the Senate,” Ernst says.
The Violence Against Women Act expired in 2018 and Ernst has been working with Feinstein and others since then to get it reauthorized.