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On October 27, Adelita M. Medina, Alianza's Executive Director, traveled to Washington, DC, to join dozens of advocates at an event in the White House marking Domestic Violence Awareness Month. During the event, President Barack Obama and Vice President Biden highlighted the Obama Administration's unprecedented coordination and cooperation across the entire government to protect victims of domestic and sexual violence and enable survivors to break the cycle of abuse.Among the luminaries in attendance were Valerie Jarett, Senior Advisor to the President and Chair of the White House Council on Women and Girls and Lynn Rosenthal, White House Advisor on Domestic Violence, Joe Torre, legendary baseball manager and founder of the Safe at Home Foundation, Mariska Hargitay star of Law and Order: Special Victims Unit, and founder of the Joyful Heart Foundation (an organization dedicated to providing healing, education and empowerment to survivors), and Victor Rivers, actor, author and long-time domestic violence advocate.
The audience was diverse and included survivors and advocates from big cities and small towns, from tribes, women's organizations, fatherhood programs, law enforcement agencies, and faith communities, all joined by a common purpose- to end violence against women.
Last year, President Obama created the White House Council on Women and Girls with the mission of ensuring that all federal agencies consider the needs of women in every policy, in every program and in every piece of legislation he supports. This focus on women and girls across the Administration, we have unprecedented coordination in the fight against domestic violence.
On October 27,2010, the Obama Administration announced an unprecedented coordination across the federal government, including several initiatives by several agencies to protect victims of abuse and provide resources for families and communities to prevent abuse. The initiatives demonstrate a broad, comprehensive response to reducing violence against women. Specifically, these concrete actions include steps to:
Protect Children and Break the Cycle of Violence
Improve Legal Protections for Victims of Domestic Violence
Increase Sexual Assault Arrests and Successful Prosecutions
Help Victims Regain Housing and Financial Independence
In announcing the initiatives, the President said: "Those are just a few of the steps we're taking. But the bottom line is this: No one in America should live in fear because they are unsafe in their own home - no adult, no child. And no one who is the victim of abuse should ever feel as though they have no way to get out. We need to make sure that every victim of domestic violence knows that they are not alone; that there are resources available to them in their moment of greatest need. As a society, we need to ensure that if a victim of abuse reaches out for help, we are there to lend a hand.
That's not just a job for government. That's a job for all of us. Thanks to all of you for the work you do in our communities. This Administration is going to stand with you in this fight every step of the way.
Details on how the Obama Administration is working to end violence against women can be found by downloading the fact sheet: Obama Administration Highlights Unprecedented Coordination across Federal Government to Combat Violence Against Women (pdf). To view the President’s address on video or to read the written transcript.