This morning, the New York Times published an insightful editorial titled, “Republicans Retreat on Domestic Violence” regarding the partisan support that the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization has received. VAWA reauthorization votes have been right along party lines, even though there are bi-partisan co-sponsors. Last week CALCASA blogged about its work with the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence Senator Feinstein’s office and the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing where not a single republican voted for reauthorization.
Previous VAWA reauthorizations were approved by unanimous consent. Why has it become such a partisan issue this year? Republicans have identified their opposition on certain pieces of the legislation that would serve to support LGBTQ and immigrant populations. Unfortunately, this philosophy targets underserved populations and loses sight of the overall goals of the Violence Against Women Act, and the extraordinary impact that this piece of legislation has had on survivors as well as the advocates and law enforcement that support them.
What has VAWA achieved since it first passed in 1994?
-Stats from 4vawa.org
Even if the lives, health, and wellbeing of survivors of sexual assault and domestic violence are not sufficient to change your vote on VAWA reauthorization, hopefully an analysis of fiscal impact will.
– Stats from 4vawa.org
Maybe it’s an issue of volume, how many survivors are living in the United States.
According to the recently released National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey, nearly 1 in 2 women (44.6%) and 1 in 5 men (22.2%) experience sexual violence other than rape throughout their lifetime. This may include behaviors such as sexual coercion, unwanted sexual touch and non-contact forms of sexual violence. In contrast, rape represents times when the victim, herself or himself, was sexually penetrated or there was an attempt to do so. The survey results show that 1 in 5 women have been raped in their lifetime. Additionally, approximately 1.3 million women reported being raped in the 12 months prior to taking the survey.
Additionally, NISVS reported that 1 in 4 women have been the victim of severe physical violence by an intimate partner while 1 in 7 men experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner.
It’s time to set aside party affiliations and agendas and focus on protecting the rights of and services to survivors of sexual and domestic violence. When our legislators acknowledge that the victims of sexual and domestic violence are their mothers, sisters, brothers, children, employees, friends and partners, they are more likely to understand the need to provide bipartisan support to reenact VAWA. Only when our republican or democratic leaders jointly embrace the notion that the responsibility to intervene in and prevent sexual and domestic violence lays with each of us, will we have a real chance at creating a society free from violence.
To learn more about how support VAWA reauthorization, visit http://4vawa.org/,
as well as the mobilization page: http://4vawa.org/pages/mobilize-with-the-vawa-tool-kit-82885
To learn more about the National Intimate Partner Violence Survey, please visit:
http://calcasa.org/nisvs/ and http://preventconnect.org/2012/01/web-conference-findings-nisvs/