Angelina Jolie returned to Washington, D.C. on Wednesday afternoon to voice her support for victims of domestic abuse, urging the Senate to renew the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which she argues provides basic protections to survivors of abuse.
“Standing here, at the center of our nation’s power, I can think only of everyone who’s been made to feel powerless by their abusers [and] by a system that fails to protect them,” Jolie stated at the beginning of her address. “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. You think, ‘I guess my abuser is right. I guess I’m not worth very much.’ That’s why passing this law is one of the most important votes U.S. senators will cast this year.”
Jolie was joined by her daughter, Zahara Marley Jolie-Pitt, for her visit to Capitol Hill. Her most recent visit to the nation’s capital was in December 2021, when she met with lawmakers in support of VAWA.
The actress has been vocal in her support of VAWA, working with its sponsors and advocates to add provisions for Kayden’s Law, which would address the impact on children in domestic violence cases and require trauma-informed court processes and judicial training.
Jolie also shared her support for VAWA through her official Instagram ahead of her speech.
“Heading into the Senate’s introduction of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act, I’m grateful and humbled to join with dedicated advocates and legislators,” the actress wrote. “I’m also glad to share in the advocacy with Zahara — and for her presence to calm my nerves before today’s press conference.”
VAWA was first passed in 1994, creating provisions for federal level prosecution of interstate domestic violence and sexual assault crimes. The law also provided support to shelters, rape crisis centers and other community organizations. After being reauthorizing in 2012, the law expired in 2018.
Later Wednesday afternoon, a bipartisan coalition introduced a deal to renew VAWA. Senate Majority Whip Dick Durban indicates that the Senate will vote on the legislation in the near future.
See Jolie’s full speech below:
"The ugly truth is that violence in homes is normalized in our country."— CSPAN (@cspan) February 9, 2022
WATCH: Complete remarks from Angelina Jolie at news conference on Violence Against Women Act. pic.twitter.com/MzS28BAbPm