Tearful Angelina Jolie tells Congress to pass new Violence Against Women Act

Actor Angelina Jolie welled up while addressing the US Congress on Wednesday as she urged members to pass the Violence Against Women Reauthorisation Act, Independent reports.

A bipartisan group of US senators introduced a proposal on Wednesday to reauthorise the 1990s-era law that extends protections for victims of domestic and sexual violence, the report adds. It had lapsed in 2019 because of Republican opposition. The bill to renew the Act was announced by Senator Dick Durbin. He was joined by Democratic and Republican colleagues, domestic violence survivors and Jolie.

“Standing here at the centre of our nation’s power, I can think only of everyone who’s been made to feel powerless by their abusers, by a system that failed to protect them,” the actor said. “Parents whose children have been murdered by an abusive partner, women who suffer domestic violence yet are not believed, children who have suffered life-altering trauma and post-traumatic stress at the hands of people closest to them.”

She called upon the US senators to pass the Act, and said: “I repeat this is one of the most important votes you will cast this year in the Senate.”

“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’s right, I guess I’m not worth very much’,” she said.

She continued: “As survivors of abuse know all too well, victims of our failed systems are not allowed to be angry. You’re supposed to be calm, patient and ask nicely. But you try staying calm when it’s as if someone is holding your head underwater. Try to stay calm when you’re witnessing someone you love being harmed.”

“Try to stay calm if, after you were strangled and you find the courage to come forward, you discover that your chances of proving the abuse are now gone because no one took into account the different ways bruising presents in black or brown skin and they failed to check properly for signs of injury,” the actor said.

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