Updating the Violence Against Women Act encounters a road block — the Republican Party


“It’s because they always laugh at the size of my wee-wee!”
Daylife/AP Photo used by permission

Until this year, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the poster child for bipartisanship. First passed in 1994 under the leadership of then-Senator Joe Biden, it garnered overwhelming support when it was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005. Now, however, it too has become politicized, a casualty of the culture wars. Although the legislation to reauthorize VAWA still has bipartisan sponsors, it was recently voted out of committee in the Senate 10-8 on a strict party-line vote and final passage is by no means certain.

Why? Because it explicitly strengthens protections for those experiencing violence at the hands of a same-sex partner, as well as for immigrants and Native American women. In the highly charged atmosphere of today’s Congress, it seems that nothing — not even support for victims of crime — is safe from controversy, and if the controversy involves women’s rights, the rhetoric of opponents escalates.

…Since VAWA’s passage, reported domestic violence has dropped by 58 percent. But the toll it takes it still disastrously high. Every single day, three women are killed by husbands or boyfriends. Every year, victims suffer two million injuries. A strong renewal of VAWA is critical to lowering these statistics, and more importantly, to ending the suffering of all victims and their families.

This year’s reauthorization bill, introduced by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Mike Crapo (R-ID), seeks to ensure that VAWA includes protections and services for all victims, regardless of who they are or what their abusers look like. It addresses the unique needs of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) victims, and those of immigrant victims, foreign brides, and Native women residing on tribal lands. All these populations have, thus far, been denied the full power of VAWA…

Reauthorization of VAWA is imperative. The costs to victims and their families and to society are too large to ignore. Opponents of VAWA are trying to make its renewal part of an ongoing culture war in which the needs of women have been buried in an avalanche of rhetoric that devalues women’s lives in the service of an ideological, partisan agenda. VAWA is the product of an era of bipartisan cooperation in which combating violence against women was a consensus position. That cooperation must be restored — women’s lives depend on it.

I guess “Why do Republicans hate women?” is no longer a rhetorical question; but, one that demands answers at the most elemental level.

Their fear and hatred extends beyond the minorities they already would deny any civil rights to. RTFA and reflect upon the statistics – especially the record set by the second term Bush-Cheney cabal when U.S. attorneys declined to prosecute 67 percent of sexual abuse and related matters that occurred in Indian country.

Perish the thought you may be one of those rare Americans who doesn’t have every process of federal law memorized; but, you have to know that because each of the Native American nations and tribes is sovereign, state and city police have next to no authority within their boundaries. There are tribal police – and there is the FBI. There is money raised within each nation – and there is money still dribbling out of the coffers of the US Treasury. Not enough to ever worry anyone about adequate compensation for what has been stolen by white settlers – and no US government has ever or will ever consider complete restoration or compensation. But, programs like this one – completely unaffordable by most First Nations – require federal funding. One nation to another that happens to reside within “our” borders.

6 thoughts on “Updating the Violence Against Women Act encounters a road block — the Republican Party

  1. She speaks.... says:

    Nice caption!
    I just want to both scream and cry at the same time… What is going on with the Republicans and their obvious disdain for women? And goals of making life hell for us? Taking us backwards in time? And how can any woman who is a Republican politician go along with all this crap???

  2. MaryLupin says:

    I do wonder how a civilized nation could go this far. I suppose many Germans wondered the same thing in 1938 or so. As for the comparison to the Taliban – David, I don’t think the GOP have devolved quite as far as stoning and public executions of “bad” women. I do wonder how many of them think such things might be a good idea.

    • eideard says:

      We proved with the VietNam War, we are capable of being a nation of Good Germans as readily as anyone who accepted Hitler as Reichskanzler after his appointment.

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