Sen. Wyden Pushes to Renew Domestic Violence Law

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Tue, July 3 2012 at 5:51 PM, Updated: Tue, July 3 2012 at 7:03 PM

For women like Linda Edholm, who have been hurt by someone close to them, help is crucial.

"I couldn't even speak an entire sentence," recalled Edholm.

She said she benefited from services including hotlines, shelters and police training.

That's why Oregon Senator Ron Wyden was in Medford on Tuesday, pushing to get the Violence Against Women Act -- also known as VAWA -- renewed. It's a law that helps women and men get away from people who hurt them.

"This law is the only thing that stands between the abuser and the abused. It really is a lifeline," said Senator Wyden.

On Tuesday, community members came together at Community Works in Medford.

"What we wanted to do today was gather as much information about abuse so I can take this back to DC and help get this law renewed in July," said Sen. Wyden.

The law brings in roughly $500,000 to Jackson County to help victims of domestic violence.

"It's going to be difficult without it," said Lieutenant Mike Budreau with the Medford Police as he thought about what losing funding would mean.

"We'll still try to provide the same amount of service but how can we," he continued.

VAWA was originally passed in 1994. However, the revised versionĀ  expands protection to include Native Americans, illegal immigrants as well as gay, lesbian and transgender victims.

"This is about justice, this is about dignity this is about ensuring freedom to women who otherwise would be traumatized and bloody," said Wyden.

He continued, "For something like this to be held up is a result of partisan politics."

On the other side, House Republicans insist the current law already covers everyone, accusing democrats of a phony fight for political gain.

Senator Ron Wyden said he hopes to bring what he's learned back to Congress next week and have the Violence Against Women Act, with its extension, passed by July.

About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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