What The Violence Against Women Act Means To You
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was the first major law to help government agencies and victim advocates work together to fight domestic violence, sexual assault, and other types of violence against women. The law made it a crime for a man to pressusise a woman across state lines. The law also saw to it that protective orders or restraining orders were recognized by all state courts. It created new punishments for certain crimes and started programs to prevent violence and help victims. Over the years, the law has been expanded to provide more programs and services. The act provides some $660 million in funding over five years for programs ranging from protecting victims of domestic violence and community violence prevention to legal aid for survivors of violence. Historically a light political lift, VAWA breezed through Congress in its two prior reauthorizations. In 2012 Republicans in both the house and senate rejected new provisions in the bill.
The House and Senate versions of VAWA have several key differences:
- The Senate adds language that explicitly mentions gay and transgender Americans for protection, while the House version is gender neutral. Republicans contend that their measure allows all Americans to receive protection because it does not specify who qualifies for various programs. Democrats, however, say that local law enforcement could use the lack of specificity to discriminate against gay or transgender people.
- The House bill does not include a Senate provision that would allow Native American women to take American citizens who abuse them to court within the tribal legal system. Republicans say that the Senate measure is unconstitutional and replace it with a proposal that allows Native American women to apply for protection orders from local US courts. Democrats contend that without the Senate’s proposals, Native American women abused on an Indian reservation are often left without legal recourse.
- The House bill does not allow for a path to citizenship for illegal women who have been abused and agree to cooperate with the police investigation of the crime. Moreover, it holds the cap on temporary visas offered to women cooperating in legal investigations to 10,000, below the Senate’s increased 15,000 level. Republicans say the citizenship provision is akin to amnesty for illegal immigrants. Democrats, on the other hand, say that women fearing deportation may never come forward to take abusers off the street under the House bill.
The lives of your children your sister and every other female member of your family depend on the laws that are written and observed in this country. No woman or man should allow any government official to negotiate with the lives of its citizens. It is important is important that the current Violence Against Women Act be reaffirmed as it was written. You should write and tell your congress person so. Act now and show your support of the women in this nation.
June 5, 2012 the equal pay for equal work (Pay Check Fairness Act) bill failed in the U.S. Senate at vote of 52 to 47. Republican leaders will let no bill pass that will help women or the economy.