Actor Angelina Jolie urged senators Wednesday to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, a 1990s law that extended protections for domestic violence survivors.
“Standing here at the center of our nation’s power, I can think only of everyone who has been made to feel powerless by their abusers, by a system that failed to protect them,” she said. Jolie was joined by survivors during her emotional speech from Capitol Hill.
A bipartisan group of U.S. senators were also alongside Jolie. The group, including Democratic Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois who announced the new bill, first introduced a proposal to renew the law after it lapsed in 2019 under the Trump administration. Although the House approved the measure in 2021, the legislation stalled in the Senate due to Republican opposition to a so-called “boyfriend loophole” that prevented people convicted of stalking from possessing firearms. The National Rifle Association strongly opposed the provision and the new bipartisan deal does not include it.
“The reason that many people struggle to leave abusive situations is that they’ve been made to feel worthless,” Jolie said. “When there is silence from a Congress too busy to renew the Violence Against Women Act for a decade, it reinforces that sense of worthlessness.”
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