Durbin Discusses Federal Funding and DEFIANCE Act at Connections for Abused Women and Their Children

CHICAGO – U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL) today visited Connections for Abused Women and their Children (CAWC) to discuss the DEFIANCE Act, bipartisan, bicameral legislation he introduced that creates a civil remedy for victims of nonconsensual, sexually explicit “deepfake” images and videos.

Durbin also discussed the $500,000 in federal funding he secured for CAWC through Congressionally Directed Spending (CDS)—more commonly known as an earmark—in the Fiscal Year 2024 (FY24) “minibus” appropriations bill to construct a new, trauma-informed facility that will provide beds for 45 survivors of domestic violence and expand the delivery of counseling, legal advocacy, and crisis intervention services.

“Abuse, in all its forms, leaves scars that run deep—physical, emotional, and psychological,” said Durbin. “There is no one-size-fits-all solution, no easy fix to erase the pain endured by survivors. But together, we can rewrite the narrative of resilience and renewal. Organizations like CAWC are beacons of hope, lighting the way forward with their unwavering commitment to restoring dignity and empowering survivors to reclaim their lives.”

“Connections for Abused Women and their Children is dedicated to supporting survivors of domestic violence and we welcome the introduction of the DEFIANCE Act,” said Interim Director of CAWC Kesha Larkins. “As an organization committed to advocating for the rights and well-being of domestic violence survivors, we believe that this legislation is essential to protecting the dignity and safety of those we serve. By holding perpetrators accountable and providing survivors with avenues for recourse, this legislation has the potential to significantly impact the lives of our clients.”

The volume of “deepfake” content available online is increasing exponentially as the technology used to create it has become more accessible to the public. The overwhelming majority of this material is sexually explicit and is produced without the consent of the person depicted.  A 2019 study found that 96 percent of deepfake videos were nonconsensual pornography.

CAWC is committed to ending domestic violence through a self-help, empowerment approach. They provide shelter for adults and children, counseling, advocacy, and a 24-hour hotline for people affected by domestic violence. They also work for social change through education, service collaboration, and institutional advocacy.