After we learn someone has been a victim or survivor of domestic violence, the first question is always, “Why didn’t she just leave?” 

If only it was that easy.

The laws we have in the United States to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault, and intimate partner violence and give them the tools to pursue criminal legal proceedings and community-based resources like housing supports, and enforcement of restraining orders against abusers and stalkers, just aren’t enough.

Survivors still fall through the cracks because our country is mainly made up of a patchwork of laws that vary from state to state. This leaves many victims and survivors of violence without access to the necessary resources to protect themselves and rebuild their lives.   

Rep. Cori Bush at the #NotOneMore march for the ERA in December 2023

Congresswoman Cori Bush has shared her story of domestic and sexual abuse many times publicly in an effort to reduce the stigma for survivors, and expand the protections of existing laws like the federal Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

Because the Congresswoman was lucky to have survived her ordeal when so many others have not, she now uses her power in Congress to strengthen these protections and fights to see the Equal Rights Amendment published to the Constitution.

Cases like that of Congresswoman Bush and millions of others with similar experiences, if they even make it to court, often fail because existing laws don’t go far enough in protecting the equality and existence of women. 

Once we get the ERA published, states will all need to meet a standard of equality on the basis of sex - including in the writing and enforcement of legislation around violence and sexual assault. 

According to the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, on average, nearly 20 people per minute are physically abused by an intimate partner in the United States. Each day that we don’t have a published ERA, approximately 22,800 people will experience the horrors of domestic violence here in the U.S. 

We all deserve better than that. Help us finally publish the ERA to the Constitution so we can end this cycle of violence.

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