Well ... here we go again! Just when we thought it wouldn't get worse ... it has! For whatever reason (and I sure can't figure it out), the Republicans continue to wage an all-out assault on women.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was passed in 1994. It sought to improve criminal justice and community responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. The VAWA gave victims a new voice and more access to services. The law also made it clear to law enforcement, the courts, and a new generation of families that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes that this society will not tolerate.
Bottom line: the VAWA protects women. Even though men can be victims of these crimes, women are the traditional victims (and for a lot of years, had to hide in the shadows.)
VAWA was reauthorized in 2000 and again in 2005. Each time, the law was improved with some additions such as a legal assistance program for victims, new prevention programs, some federal funds to help keep rape crisis centers open, and the new services for children and teenagers.
EACH AND EVERY TIME, THIS LAW RECEIVED HUGE BIPARTISAN SUPPORT!
It's time to reauthorize the VAWA again, but now the Republicans want to scuttle the law. Why would they want to do that? Since its inception, this law has brought nothing but positive changes ... including more than 600 state laws to combat these crimes. Since 1996, the National Domestic Violence Hotline has answered over two million calls. Businesses have joined the fight against violence against women. There are now employee assistance programs that help victims of domestic violence - male and female.
It boggles the mind that these lawmakers (who supposedly represent women as well as men) would want to drop a law that has been so beneficial to so many. Why?
Here's the answer: THIS year, an amendment has been added to the VAWA. It adds new provisions that would include the lesbian/gay community, Native Americans on tribal lands, and undocumented people.
That's right! The Republicans don't want to reauthorize this law because they have "concerns" (their word, not mine) that these new groups of people will be protected.
Hmmm ... what does that tell you about these lawmakers? They're willing to protect you if you're not gay/lesbian ... or living on a Native American tribal land ... or you aren't in this country with the proper documentation.
Or maybe ... just maybe ... it's even simpler than that. Maybe they don't want to protect you because you're a woman.