Barack Obama signs Violence Against Women Act
Washington: US President Barack Obama has signed into law the new Violence Against Women Act, which he termed "very important" and representing the positive progress of the country.
"One of the great legacies of this law is that it didn't just change the rules; it changed our culture. It empowered people to start speaking out. It made it okay for us, as a society, to talk about domestic abuse," Obama said on Thursday on the occasion of the signing ceremony.
"It made it possible for us, as a country, to address the problem in a real and meaningful way. It made clear to victims that they always had a place to go and they always had people on their side," said the US President.
Originally passed in 1994 and reauthorised since, the Act provides support for organisations that serve domestic violence victims. Criminal prosecutions of abusers are generally the responsibility of local authorities, but the Act stiffened sentences for stalking under federal law.
Coinciding with the signing of the Act, the Hindu American Seva Charities - a grassroots body - yesterday announced the launch of the 'Hindus United Against Domestic Violence & Sexual Abuse' awareness campaign.
"As we celebrate Women's History month and the International Women's Day, let us pledge to bring to the forefront the Dharmic value of equality (samata) in all aspects of our lives and community," said Anju Bhargava, HASC Founder.
HASC kicked off its awareness campaign by placing posters at the Hindu American Temple and Cultural Center in Morganville, New Jersey, Hindu Centre of Charlotte, North Carolina and the Shiva Vishnu Temple in Maryland.
"Women are a source of strength and support in all communities. We are proud to be part of this pioneering initiative for the Hindu community," said Priti Mehta and Dolly Pandya, who initiated the poster development project.