WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray released the following statement after President Barack Obama, just one day before International Women’s Day, signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization into law:

“Today is a day of celebration and relief for millions of women across the country. It is a particularly joyous day for women who, over the last 16 months, were told they weren’t worthy of the protections the Violence Against Women Act provides. It’s a day of celebration, for tribal women, the LGBT community, immigrants, and women on college campuses who will finally have the tools and resources this life-saving law provides.

“Today is also a day of celebration and validation for the countless women who had the courage to come forward and tell painful stories about why this bill was so vital to them. Women like Deborah Parker, Vice-Chairwoman of the Tulalip Tribe in my home state of Washington. Never has one person’s advocacy or one person’s story driven me quite like Deborah’s. I will never forget the day she walked into my office last April and told me her harrowing story of abuse at a frighteningly young age. It was a story filled with pain, but also resilience.

“Throughout this journey, women like Deborah reinforced they were more than statistics, and they forced those who stood in opposition to this bill to face up to the reality that who a person loves, where they live, or their immigration status should never determine whether they are protected from violence. And today is their day to celebrate.

“I applaud President Obama for taking swift action and signing this critical legislation into law today -- with Deborah standing right by his side. And I’d like to thank Vice President Biden, Senator Leahy, and the coalition of women’s groups, LGBT advocates, civil rights organizations, law enforcement, clergy members, educators, and concerned citizens who’ve repeatedly stood strong to make today possible. I also want to thank the many Republicans who supported this bill, particularly those Republicans in the House of Representatives who stood up to their leadership to finally bring about a vote on this bill last week.

“For nearly two decades VAWA has allowed women to escape lives afflicted by violence and abuse. It’s been one of the privileges of my career to stand strong over the past year and a half to ensure that VAWA’s protections are expanded to include more women.”

Watch an interactive timeline of Senator Murray’s efforts to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act.