Vice President Joe Biden commemorates the 20th Anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act at the National Archives in Washington on Sept. 9, 2014.
Susan Walsh—AP
By Maya Rhodan
September 9, 2014

Vice President Joe Biden said Tuesday that there is still much work to be done to protect women from violence, despite the strides that have been made in the 20 years since the Violence Against Women Act passed.

“We’re not going to succeed until America embraces the idea that no man has a right to raise his hand to a woman except for in self defense… that no means no, whether it’s in the bedroom or in the back of a car. Rape is rape,” Biden said during a commemorative event at the National Archives. “Until we reach that point we’re not going to succeed.”

Biden, who was at the time a Senator, drafted the Violence Against Women Act of 1994 and was instrumental in its passage and implementation. The 20th anniversary came just as a video of NFL star Ray Rice hitting his wife as garnered national headlines and led to his suspension from the team.

Biden said much has changed in the years since VAWA passed, including VAWA itself, which has been reauthorized three times since 1994. The law provides prosecutorial protection and support for women who are victims of violence, and was later expanded to include unmarried women and the LGBT community.

Biden said Tuesday that more change will come, “when everyone understands that even one case is too many.”

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