The government shutdown officially began at midnight, which means the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has expired and programs that assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault will be left without funding.
The VAWA was passed in response to Anita Hill’s 1994 testimony alleging sexual harassment by Supreme Court Justice (then nominee) Clarence Thomas, and it expired just three months after Christine Blasey Ford endured a similar ordeal after testifying that Supreme Court Justice (then nominee) Brett Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her in high school.
According to The Washington Post, the act was set to expire in September, but was twice temporarily extended:
The blow to the landmark 1994 law came after multiple short-term extensions. The act was due to expire on Sept. 30 and on Dec. 7 but received a last-minute reprieve each time. Its programs are funded under the Department of Justice, which is affected by the shutdown.
However, the Post also reports that a bill passed earlier this week extends funding until February 8, 2019.
Congresswomen Norma Torres explained on Twitter that that the expiration of the VAWA will mean longterm restricted access to “vital services” for survivors: