Sexual assault survivor, senator advocates for new act to protect women against violence

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WASHINGTON, D.C. (Nexstar) — Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst has been a victim of domestic violence — but she was also the Republican senator who blocked the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.

Ernst says that bill was flawed, and she has introduced an entirely new bill.

Democrats say this new bill is stalling the reauthorization of VAWA, which expired earlier this year, and survivors are being left in the dark.

“I speak to this body not just as a senator,” said Ernst. “But I speak to this body as a survivor of rape.”

At the time, Ernst said the bill wouldn’t pass the Senate, it wouldn’t get the President’s signature, and it wouldn’t help survivors.

The biggest difference between the two bills is that Ernst’s removes a provision that would keep guns out of the hands of domestic abusers. She says her bill would provide more funding for victims for twice as long.

California Democrat Dianne Feinstein admits the House bill isn’t perfect, but Texas Republican John Cornyn says that doesn’t mean the senate should rush it.

“We don’t have to settle for the House bill,” says Cornyn. “We can do better.”

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