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      Syracuse woman stabbed 37 times thanks lawmakers for passing Violence Against Women Act

      Congress reauthorized, after more than a year delay, the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. The act provides funding to services that benefit victims of domestic and sexual violence at Vera House in Syracuse.

      Dan Maffei (D-NY), Rep. Richard Hanna (R-NY), Vera House, and survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault held a news conference Friday to applaud the passage of the act.

      The most dramatic moment at the news conference was when Katie Stager, who was stabbed 37 times by her estranged husband, spoke to thank lawmakers.

      "I am glad I am able to personally thank you," Stager said. "It means a lot. I have used every resource there is."

      The 1994 law was expanded to extend domestic violence protections to gays, lesbians and transsexuals despite GOP opposition. Vice President Biden sponsored the bill in 1994, while serving in the Senate.

      "We join advocates and justice system professionals across the nation in thanking Congress for passing a bipartisan Violence Against Women Act yesterday," Vera House Executive Director Randi Bregman said. "We know that the victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence we serve will rest a little easier tonight."

      (Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.)