President Obama Signs VAWA

March 07, 2013

President Obama signs the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization.

FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. -- President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act Thursday. The reauthorization enhanced protections for Native American, undocumented and LGBT communities.

Diane Millich introduced the vice president at the signing ceremony. A member of the Southern Ute Tribe, Millich survived more than 100 beatings by her non-native husband. She called the police many times but nothing could be done because the abuse occurred on tribal land.

"After one beating my ex-husband called the tribal police and sheriff’s department himself just to show me that no one could stop him," Millich said.

This version of the Violence Against Women Act gives tribal courts expanded authority to deal with non native abusers.

"Tribal governments have an inherent right to protect their people and all women deserve the right to live free from fear and that is what today is all about," President Obama told the dozens of survivors and providers gathered in Washington, D.C. for the signing.

President Obama said if a woman’s immigration status is tied to a husband who abuses her, she can call the police without fear of deportation because of this law.

Vice President Biden, an author of the original 1994 law, said there are still too many women who are prisoners in their own home.