Congress Rocking Back the Clock for Women

by Janet Hill, Coalition of Labor Union Women (CLUW), National VP for USW Coalition of Labor Union Women, Beaver Valley NOW,

Some familiar faces in Congress are more concerned with rocking back the clock rather than rocking round the clock where women and families are concerned.  The Violence against Women Act (VAWA) is currently being blocked in Congress.

Some might ask, doesn’t everybody want to protect women and families against violence and hey didn’t George Bush sign this?  But that was before – gasp – the act was extended to protect the following underserved groups – undocumented female immigrants, Native American women and double gasp LBTGQ victims.

Undocumented female immigrants frequently have their undocumented status used as a weapon against them.   Thirty four percent of American Indian and Alaska Native women will be raped in their lifetimes; 39% will be subjected to domestic violence in their lifetimes; and on some reservations, Native women are murdered at more than ten times the national average.  The LBTGQ community experiences violence at the same rates as the non-LBTGQ community but they have difficulty in getting services. For example, 45 percent of LGBT victims were turned away when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter, according to a 2010 survey, and nearly 55 percent of those who sought protection orders were denied them

In 1985 the Surgeon General identified domestic violence as a public health issue. Joe Biden introduced the first violence against Women Act in 1990 and along with the Judiciary Committee did a three year study in to the causes and effects of violence on women.  In 1994 because it was thought that preventing violence against women was a commonsense issue that benefited everyone and passed with bipartisan support.  Each time the act was reauthorized it was expanded and improved.  Each time it passed with bipartisan support.

This legislation has been commonsense since 1994 shouldn’t it continue to be so?

Part of the #HERvotes blog carnival.

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