WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) issued this statement following the Senate's passage of the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization by a vote of 78-22:
"For 19 years, the Violence Against Women Act has helped protect women across the country from abuse. Today, the Senate voted to modernize the law and make sure more women — including those in Indian Country — can benefit from its protections.
"Native women are 2 1Ž2 times more likely than others in the United States to be victims of sexual assault. But that is only part of the tragedy. Too often, these crimes go unprosecuted and unpunished because of jurisdictional loopholes. Not only is violence inflicted, but justice is denied.
"I'm proud that the Senate voted overwhelmingly to reauthorize and update VAWA and make it easier to prosecute more perpetrators. The United States must set an example for the world that abuse and violence against women will not be tolerated under any circumstance. Now it's up to the House of Representatives to act and put women and families ahead of politics."