Domestic Violence Awareness Month 30th Anniversary Event
September 18, 2017
In recognition of the anniversary of Congress passing the first Violence Against Women Act in September 1994 and in support of the upcoming Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October, GFWC President Sheila E. Shea attended a congressional briefing where Senator Amy Klobuchar (MN) focused on the intersection between domestic violence and firearms. Panelists included the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, Americans for Responsible Solutions, the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, the Community Justice Reform Coalition, the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence, and representatives from the Baltimore City Sheriff’s Office Domestic Violence Unit.
“Our GFWC Legislative Action Center (LAC) Alert earlier this year focused on all the issues discussed at this excellent briefing. GFWC’s message is simple – research shows that the presence of a firearm in a domestic violence situation makes it five times more likely the woman will be fatally injured. Our legislative efforts must be aimed at protecting victims and survivors of intimate partner violence from gun violence,” said GFWC President Sheila E. Shea. GFWC urges Congress to strengthen background checks, close loopholes that allow convicted stalkers and those under temporary restraining orders to buy firearms, reject efforts to make silencers readily available, and reject bills which would force all states to honor other states’ concealed carry permits. GFWC also urges Congress to support legislation which expands the definition of intimate partner to provide protections to those subjected to physical abuse by current or former dating partner.
In addition to the legislative briefing on Capitol Hill, GFWC President Shea attended the Take a Stand Reception where speakers included House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi (CA), Rep. Debbie Dingell (MI), Rep. Jackie Speier (CA), Rep. Gwen Moore (WI), and Lynn Rosenthal, former and first-ever White House Advisor on Violence Against Women. Senator Klobuchar and Rep. Dingell notably introduced legislation to protect survivors of dating violence and stalking by closing loopholes that allow abusers and stalkers access to guns. The program included a screening of the documentary Home Truth about Jessica (Gonzales) Lenahan who was honored during the event as the first domestic violence survivor to bring a successful international human rights case against the United States government before the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights, after having her Colorado Court of Appeals case overturned by the U.S. Supreme Court. Panelists urged local advocates to learn about the Department of Justice guidance on Gender Bias in Law Enforcement Response to Domestic Violence and how it can be used to improve policing in your community.
An eight-year Air Force veteran, Penny has been a GFWC member since 2008, and is currently serving as the club president of GFWC Helena Woman’s Club (Montana).
Success For Survivors Scholarship
Each year, GFWC awards scholarships to help intimate partner abuse survivors obtain a post-secondary education that offers a chance to reshape their future by securing employment and gaining personal independence.
Junior Woman's Club of State College
When Robbin Zirkle moved back to the area after grad school, she addressed the challenge many people face as adults—making new friends— by joining the Junior Woman’s Club of State College (Pennsylvania). GFWC provided her a place to connect with like-minded women who shared her passion for community service.