On July 21, during the VOCA signing ceremony, U.S. President Joe Biden shared a story that moved him – a story that End Abuse Director of Policy and Systems Change Jenna Gormal offered from her previous experience as a shelter advocate. As she lobbied for the #VOCAFix over the past several months, her advocacy included educating lawmakers about the complex dynamics of abuse and the need for stable funding for local programs.
The woman in the story Jenna offered was a survivor of violence. She, like all of us, lived with beauties, struggles, joys, hardships. She, like survivors across the country, came to a local program to access services. And she, due to chronic underfunding and systemic barriers, was unable to access all of what she needed to escape the violence in her life. She is among the countless lives lost to violence. Her life is not forgotten.
Let this be a reminder that collective advocacy holds power, and that survivors’ stories must remain central to our anti-violence work.