Women testify over anti-violence act

June 10, 2009 12:34:10 PM PDT
It's been 15 years since the Violence Against Women Act was first signed into law by then President Bill Clinton - strengthening laws protecting victims of domestic and sexual assault. Several women testified on Tuesday about the continuing importance of the bill to the Senate Judiciary Committee.

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Among those sharing their story was Hollywood actress Gabrielle Union who was 19-years-old -- working the late shift in a shoe store -- when a man came in demanding money - then raped her at gunpoint - Union credits a rape crisis counselor for helping her overcome the pain. Her story is just one of many.

"During the course of the rape, He put the gun down. At that time, I did my best Starsky and Hutch and fell on my back and I tried to kill him," said Union.

Union credits a counselor for helping her overcome the pain. Her story is one of many.

"Every day stories of rape, etc remain in our headlines - this is unacceptable - there's much more to do," said Union.

Despite the progress made by the Violence Against Women Act - funding remains an issue and abuse is still shockingly common. According to a new national study, nearly one out of three teenagers has been abused by a significant other.

"Dating violence is the same as domestic violence destroys and kills people. How can we ignore this major health program any longer," said Anne Burke, Lindsay Ann Burke Memorial Fund.

The violence against women act was reauthorized by congress twice before- it will be up for reauthorization again next year.

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