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October 13, 2012

Students from The Washington Center have joined with NNEDV to advocate for VAWA reauthorization, sharing with their Members of Congress why programs and services that work to end domestic violence are important to them. Forty-two college students from 15 states and 5 countries attended meetings with their Representatives and Senators, shared statistics and stories about the impact of domestic violence, and urged Congress to swiftly pass a VAWA bill that safely and effectively protects all victims.

In addition to discussing the important protections needed for tribal, LGBT, and immigrant victims, the students explained what is at stake for college students if VAWA is not reauthorized. Young women between the ages of 18 and 24 are disproportionally impacted by domestic and dating violence, and the Senate's version of VAWA would require colleges and universities to report these incidents in their annual campus crime statistics reports. This reporting requirement would assist campuses in understanding the rate at which students experience violence so that they can respond more effectively to these crimes and address the needs of victims on their campuses.

The Washington Center students were able to take this message to the Hill and engage in meaningful conversations with Members and their staff – and they could see the real impact that their voices have in the legislative advocacy process. As Paige Wambold from Arizona State University said, "I think he [an aide to Senator Jon Kyl] really paid attention to our comments about dating violence...and why reauthorizing VAWA is so important to people our age." And Holly Klesta, from Tiffin University in Ohio, commented, "The aide [to Senator Sherrod Brown] was...visibly moved when one student told him how she had been a victim of dating violence. He even invited us back for coffee to continue the discussion!"

These students made a difference in helping NNEDV's efforts around VAWA reauthorization, and advocacy like theirs is essential to ending domestic violence. NNEDV urges you to join these students in making a difference for victims of domestic violence.

Please join their efforts today by contacting your Members of Congress. Ask them to pass a VAWA that safely and effectively protects all victims from domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.