Victims' Rights Caucus

Press Releases

The White House

Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release
October 27, 2010
Remarks by the President at Domestic Violence Awareness Event
East Room

4:25 P.M. EDT

     THE PRESIDENT:  Thank you, everybody.  (Applause.)  Everybody, please have a seat.  Thank you so much.
     Let me just be clear. Bidens boss is Dr. Jill Biden.  (Laughter.)  So let there be no confusion about that.  
I want to begin, obviously, by recognizing my Vice President for the unbelievable leadership that he has shown for more than two decades on this issue -- fighting alongside all the advocates who are here today.  (Applause.)  Great work.  
He started holding hearings on domestic violence back in 1990.  He wrote and gathered the support to pass the Violence Against Womens Act -- a law that has saved countless lives, transformed how we address these all-too-pervasive crimes.  And as Vice President, he hasnt let up. He is helping us to step up our efforts across all the relevant federal agencies.  So nobody feels more passionately about this than Joe, and I am grateful to him for all of his leadership.  We're really proud of him.  (Applause.)  
     I also want to thank Valerie Jarrett, my senior advisor and chair of our Council on Women and Girls. Valerie has helped ensure that the issues that were talking about today -- the concerns of women and girls -- are addressed at the highest levels of our government.  
I want to acknowledge Lynn Rosenthal, the first-ever advisor at the White House -- (applause.)  So we're proud of Lynn.  I guess you know her.  (Laughter.) Shes been calling you up a little bit.  But shes doing great work helping to advise us on these issues.
I want to thank Judge Susan Carbon, the Director of the Office on Violence Against Women at the Department of Justice.  (Applause.)  We're proud of what we're doing here.
I want to thank my Secretary for Health and Human Services, Secretary Sebelius, who is helping to coordinate our efforts.
     And finally, I want to thank everybody who is here today for the work that youre doing to stop domestic violence and to help its survivors.  Youve got champions like Senator Frank Lautenberg and Congresswoman Donna Edwards who have done extraordinary work in Congress.  Youve got leaders like Mayor Mitch Landrieu of New Orleans.  And I think you already heard about some of the interesting work that theyre doing down in that city.  
There are so many organizations that are represented here today -- we are very proud of you and what you do.  I'm thrilled to see Joe Torre, whos here, who understands this issue personally and deeply, and for him to lend his name to this is extraordinarily important.  And we hope that the Dodgers do better next year.  (Laughter.)  My White Sox aren't doing so hot, either. (Laughter.)  
     As you all know, domestic violence was for far too long seen as a lesser offense.  As Valerie said, it was frequently treated like a private matter.  Victims were often just sent home from the hospital without intervention; children were left to suffer in silence.  And as a consequence, abuse could go on for years.  In many cases, this violence would only end with the death of a woman or a child.

     And we've come an incredibly long way since that time.  We have changed laws.  Weve made progress in changing the way people thi