Angelina Jolie visited the White House earlier this week to discuss the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). The actress met with White House officials, including Press Secretary Jen Psaki and spoke with reporters in the White House Briefing Room about the issue.
“It is a health crisis, what is happening, and it is going to be solved if we look at it as helping families,” she said, according to Deadline.
The Violence Against Women Act was signed into law in 1994 by President Bill Clinton and sponsored by Joe Biden, then the Senator of Delaware. The act—which was last renewed in 2013, but expired in 2019—authorized over a billion dollars in funding for the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women as well as support for the victims of those crimes. In March 2021, a bipartisan bill to renew and build upon VAWA was introduced to the U.S. House of Representatives.
Jolie’s trip to Washington came with the hope of including provisions in the renewal that better protect children from domestic violence and throughout any subsequent judicial process. “I’m in DC leading up to the VAWA reauthorization, FBI reforms, and other important protections and rights,” Jolie said in a statement, according to Deadline. “I’ve met with experts for years now, learning about best practices including non-biased forensic evidence collection, and advocating for improvements. I’m grateful for these timely and valuable meetings with Senators, especially focused on provisions for children’s health.”
Jolie spent the day before her appearance at the White House Briefing Room taking meetings with various lawmakers, including Senate Majority Leader Check Schumer. “Thank you to Angelina Jolie for coming in today to talk about the fight to reauthorize VAWA in the Senate and how we can help support research on diagnosing injuries from domestic violence and child abuse to help survivors,” Schumer tweeted after the fact, sharing photos with the actress.
While in DC. Jolie also met with some of the US gymnasts currently testifying in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee about the FBI’s failed investigation of abuse allegations against Larry Nassar.
“I was honored to meet with some of the brave US gymnasts who appeared before the Senate Judiciary Committee yesterday,” Jolie wrote in an Instagram post alongside a photo with Kaylee Lorincz, Maggie Nichols, McKayla Maroney, Jessica Howard, and Aly Raisman. “I’m in awe of their courage and commitment to preventing future failures to investigate abuse. As Aly Raisman said in her testimony, ‘Over 100 victims could have been spared the abuse. All we needed was one adult to do the right thing.’ Sending support and respect to them, and to all who are reliving this trauma so that system reforms can occur.”