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Malachi writes: "There are some things that should never fall victim to partisan bickering. One of these is protecting women against domestic violence and sexual assault."

The Violence Against Women Act expired this month after 18 years. (photo: unknown)
The Violence Against Women Act expired this month after 18 years. (photo: unknown)


What Happened to the Violence Against Women Act?

By Leslie Watson Malachi, OtherWords

17 January 13

 

emocrats and Republicans in Congress are having a hard time agreeing on anything these days. But there are some things that should never fall victim to partisan bickering. One of these is protecting women against domestic violence and sexual assault.

But for Republicans in Congress, apparently, it isn't that simple. Thanks to the extremism of House Republicans, the Violence Against Women Act expired this month after 18 years of saving women's lives.

Here's how it happened. Back in April, the Senate passed a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which since 1994 has provided funding and training for state and local law enforcement to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. The law has worked incredibly well: between 1993 and 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence fell by 64 percent and the reporting of domestic violence has increased dramatically. Because of this, it has been reauthorized twice with overwhelming support from both Democrats and Republicans.

But at the start of this year, the act expired because House Republicans refused to reauthorize it. They refused even to hold a vote on it, instead proposing a watered-down bill that the president promised to veto. What they objected to were the new bill's increased protections for immigrants, LGBT people, and Native American women.

Yes, they objected to greater protections for at-risk communities. Immigrant women are especially vulnerable to domestic violence because many rely on a spouse for their ability to live and work in this country. The new law would expand the number of victims of spousal abuse who could apply for their own visas and start their own lives.

Similarly, LGBT people too often fall through the cracks of our safety net for domestic violence victims: they are turned away from shelters or denied support, simply because of the gender of the abuser and the abused. This law would fix that. Finally, many Native American victims of domestic violence and sexual assault are left without recourse against non-Native abusers when their cases get lost in the gap between federal and tribal courts.

This is no minor problem: an astounding one in three Native women will survive a rape in her lifetime, and the vast majority of crimes against Native Americans are perpetrated by non-Natives. The Violence Against Women Act would bridge that legal gap and allow all Native American survivors of abuse to seek justice in court.

Republican efforts to prevent expanded protections for these at-risk groups made all women lose important protections. This issue is especially important to me as a survivor, an advocate, and a member of the ministerial staff at an African-American congregation.

Violence against women is an issue that affects everyone in America, but it disproportionately impacts women of color. The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that more than a third of Hispanic women and nearly 44 percent of black women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

As a faith leader - and as someone who worked with others to help enact this legislation in the first place - I feel that it is important to speak out in support of those who are most vulnerable to violence and abuse. The lawmakers who blocked VAWA aren't just insulting victims of domestic abuse, they're actively putting women's lives in danger. Congress should act quickly in this new year to reauthorize this life-saving program.


 

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+16 # X Dane 2013-01-17 22:26
It is astounding that the republicans are so vile against women. To think that an educated man like Poul Ryan want to grant personhood to a few weeks old fetus.
There is nothing republicans will not do to denigrate women, and if they are gay or native ...to boot ALL bets are off.

They obviously do not think much of their mothers, wives or daughters, for they sure could be hurt too. No protection.
To them it is all about money and protecting their big donors. They are sickening
 
 
+10 # Lolanne 2013-01-18 10:23
Quoting X Dane:
It is astounding that the republicans are so vile against women. To think that an educated man like Poul Ryan want to grant personhood to a few weeks old fetus.
There is nothing republicans will not do to denigrate women, and if they are gay or native ...to boot ALL bets are off.

They obviously do not think much of their mothers, wives or daughters, for they sure could be hurt too. No protection.
To them it is all about money and protecting their big donors. They are sickening


Even worse than sickening, X Dane. Their animosity toward anyone weaker than themselves, anyone they can bully, is downright frightening. They are acting out of the worst kind of unconsciousness . Their focus on themselves and their lust for power blinds them to the harm they do. They are the worst examples of where greed and lust for power leads. We MUST find a way to get them out of government and return some clear-eyed, clear-headed sanity to congress!
 
 
+3 # Erdajean 2013-01-18 15:44
Women who are not outraged by these THINGS (I am out of nice words for excrement) are brain-dead. ANYBODY who voted for them is as criminal as they are.

Am wondering if one reason they hate women, as they clearly do, might be that most of their detractors, most who see them for what they REALLY are, are female. Anything that threatens their power, they despise. And in their teeny minds, ALL their power is between their legs.

Further, WHERE are the men who should be as furious as the women are? Does their relative silence mean they agree?

If so, friends, we are in the cesspool up to our eyebrows. May civilization rest in peace.
 
 
+4 # Glen 2013-01-18 15:48
X Dane, there is a difference between an embryo and a fetus. An embryo, although only a cluster of cells, is now considered a human being regardless of its inability to survive on its own. The knuckleheads declaring a woman totally responsible for this cluster of cells, disregards all manner of influences on that little cluster, including environmental chemicals, abusive husbands, the health of the father, the health of the mother prior to pregnancy, genetics, and so much more.

Education only goes so far when religion and social pressures and money influences politicians.
 
 
+3 # X Dane 2013-01-19 13:14
glen.
Thank you for making the distinction, I just wanted to make it clear that it is basically a fertilized egg, that Ryan wants to give the rights of a person??

I think he want to be able to make a woman, seeking an abortion, and the doctor providing it,.... into criminals.

But if the poor woman HAS the baby, she is NOT able to care for, there is no help for her, all kinds of funds are cut and help to women and children, sure are.
So as some say: Republicans "LOVE the baby, hate the child.
 
 
+1 # Glen 2013-01-20 12:58
I understand X Dane. Medical terms are often misused and misunderstood. And boy, are you correct in your comments concerning control over women and doctors and the lack of care concerning older children. Heck I have lived in the state that produced the senator declaring children could be punished with death for disobeying their parents.

No end to human dementia.
 
 
+21 # Regina 2013-01-17 22:34
Can we really expect a renewed VAWAct from a gang of misogynists who are hung up on the "legitimacy" of rape? Or expounding on the unlikelihood of pregnancy from rape? Or attributing such a pregnancy to an act of God, and therefore to be accepted as the rape victim's divine fate? This is not our grandparents' Republican Party -- it's a gang of crackpot cretins masquerading as legislators.
 
 
+15 # ghostperson 2013-01-17 23:14
It is to be expected from a political party whose mouth piece,the corpulent, prescription drug addict, Rush Limbaugh, said that women could have abortions but only if they used a gun.

The GOP has no common sense, decency, judgment,filter or desire to help others. It knows only how to spew hate and venom.

In a phrase, it is a party with no value added. It deserves its soon-to-come extinction. There are few left unoffended by its vileness.

Traditional family values, pleassssse! What family, Charles Manson's?
 
 
+3 # PABLO DIABLO 2013-01-19 13:33
Women and (real) men rise up on FEBRUARY 14, 2013. One Billion Strong and more. And, vote these cretens out of office. Boycott their corporate sponsors.
 

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