Violence Against Women Act Refuses To Be Victimized

January 29, 2013
By Allie Gregory | 1 comments

For the first time since 1994, the Violence Against Women Act has been allowed to expire. Last April the VAWA passed the Senate with a 68-31 vote. However, it was then blocked at the House—who were under Republican Tea Party leadership. This might sound vaguely familiar. The reason for this was because the provisions in the latest version of the bill would have expanded protection to gay victims and illegal immigrants as well as Native American victims of domestic abuse and violence.

According to New York Times, “the bill would provide services, like shelters and legal help, for victims of abuse regardless of their sexual orientation or immigration status.” And although the bill is strongly supported by both sides and has passed every five years since first introduced—GOP Tea Party House leaders are willing to turn a blind eye for no other reason than pure discrimination.

This week, Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont reintroduced the updated Violence Against Women Act (that included extended protections for gay and illegal immigrant as well as Native American victims of domestic abuse and violence). Sen. Leahy calls it a ‘tragedy’ that such a bill has been cast aside and he plans to make sure it is put back in action. Nancy Pelosi said this was a “top priority.” It is in great irony that such a bill to protect domestic abuse victims is becoming a victim itself of a GOP Congress that does absolutely nothing. No surprise, Republican leaders have failed to say anything of this bill. However, ignoring VAWA will not make it go away. Women across country have shown they are a very aware of the issues in regard to their health and safety. Why would Republicans think this issue would be any different?

What do you think of the Republican leadership? DFA stands with Sen. Leahy and his commitment to progressive bills such as the Violence Against Women Act. We stand for efforts that protect all the victims of domestic abuse no matter racial background or sexual orientation.

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I am a survivor of domestic violence but I am also a survivor of the misuse of this law. Domestic violence is not just the physical attack it comes after a long period of emotional, psychological and financial abuse. I was attacked by my husband and left the house in extreme fear with my dogs staying at a friend's. Meanwhile my husband calmly went to the police station and claimed I had attacked HIM with a knife. (Not true of course but the police said it was a "he said she said"). They further advised him he had "rights". The right to defend himself, the right to occupy my home (he refused to contribute financially) until the divorce was final and they would help him to enforce these rights. Police reports, restraining orders, etc. Are now all used by the abusers to extend their power and control. Indeed the police will enforce their "rights". The police were quite willing to enforce living together "until the divorce was final". And my husband who claimed he was not afraid and just wanted to report it "in case something happened" and not to inform me because "it would just cause more trouble" had arranged a get out of jail free card on the grounds of self defense for anything he cared to do. I was the accused so I By Law could not talk to the victim advocates at the police station. The practice of the law is not what its advocates envision. In my case I was able to get a restraining order and my husband was very upset feeling that the rules of the game were whoever got there first would "win". Truth meant nothing. Just bringing an accusation first. Manipulation, deception and outright lying are the foundation of an abusive relationship - the violence is just an extension of that. Until this is understood the laws will just be used more and more by the perpetrators to extend their total control over their victims.

Gail Seaton Humbert
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