Rape Survivor Demands Congress Extend the Violence Against Women Act Immediately
By Mel Fabrikant Monday, February 11, 2013, 01:00 PM EST
Senate Scheduled For Final Vote Reauthorizing VAWA on Monday
In a new petition on SignOn.org, the online petition platform of MoveOn.org, Sheila Thomas, a rape survivor from Dayton, Ohio urges Congress to extend the Violence Against Women Act. The Act was first introduced in 1994, and strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders, mandated that women don’t have to pay for their own rape exams, and helped communities develop law enforcement units dedicated to violence against women. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was allowed to expire in 2011.
SIGN THE PETITION HERE: http://signon.org/sign/congress-must-extend
In the petition, which has been signed by over 2,500 people so far, Sheila Thomas shares a very personal story about her experiences and the importance of reauthorizing VAWA.
“In 1983, I was a victim of rape at gunpoint,” explained Sheila. “My rapist had already raped four women in my community, I was his fifth victim. He has never been captured. At the time, I was a single mother of a five-year old daughter and attending a local community college."
Sheila continued, "The failure of Congress to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act makes me feel like I'm being victimized all over again; this time, by the very people we sent to Washington DC. I'm angered that those same people will have the audacity ask us to send them back in the upcoming elections. Well, I don't think so. No one asks to be raped. No one asks to be a victim of a violent crime. It feels like our rights as women--as human beings--are not being respected, and that we are being ignored."
Sheila, a Dayton resident, is also a Community College instructor and a proud mother and grandmother.
A final vote on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act is now scheduled for Monday in the Senate.