The Violence Against Women Act

VAWA

Since I have been surrounded by politics my entire life (growing up and living in the DC area), I have acquired a love for it. I find the debates and banter amusing, although I, too, easily get sucked-in and worked-up, thus having to step back, breathe and laugh at myself. Politics is a touchy subject; it is very personal and a passionate subject for many. I love to know why people feel the way they do, however, I do not like discussing politics with those who are not open-minded, nor educated, and only “feel” one way. What fun is that? I find the most important aspect of debating and discussing politics is to know the facts and history …afterall, knowledge is power! I may “feel” one way, but unless I know the facts and how my decision will impact another, how can I form an opinion?

Because I am huge proponent of education, I am starting a new regular series on my blog laying out facts and the history of political topics that interest me. The goal is for everyone to learn and know the facts so you can make your own decision on where you stand!

The Violence Against Women Act

After being in limbo since its expiration in 2011, the Violence Against Women Act passed in the Senate on Tuesday, by a vote of 78 – 22. All female senators, Democrats and Republicans, voted in favor of the act, which now includes provisions for immigrants, gays and lesbians, and Native American women. It also includes legislation that will speed up analysis of DNA evidence in rape cases. Since it was created in 1994, the law's anti-domestic-violence programs have been instrumental in protecting women from abuse and reducing national domestic violence rates.

A statement from the White House described it best:

Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act with overwhelming bipartisan support. This law has been incredibly effective and I hope the House will vote without delay to renew the law so that we can continue to assist victims of domestic violence and sexual assault and hold offenders accountable for their crimes.

Delay isn’t an option when three women are still killed by their husbands or boyfriends every day. Delay isn’t an option when countless women still live in fear of abuse, and when one in five have been victims of rape. This issue should be beyond debate – the House should follow the Senate’s lead and pass the Violence Against Women Act right away. This is not a Democratic or Republican issue – it’s an issue of justice and compassion.

With one legislative body down, there is one more to go. VAWA now moves to the House for the vote, where it's likely to face opposition regarding the Native Americans provision.

“We want to protect the women who are subject to abuse on tribal lands, and unfortunately there are issues that don’t directly bear on that that have come up, that have complicated it,” House Majority Leader Eric Cantor said. “But in working with [House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer]'s office as well as the vice president’s, I hope to be able to deal with this and bring it up in a expeditious manner.”

Curious about the GOP's hang ups regarding the tribal land jurisdiction stipulation? Read The Hill’s article for more detail:

Grassley expressed concern that U.S. citizens living or working on tribal land would be subject to tribal courts if accused of domestic violence or rape and would have no way to appeal the tribal court decisions in the federal court system.

Tuesday night, 17 House Republicans sent a letter to Cantor and House Speaker John Boehner urging reauthorization of the act.

We are long overdue in passing a reauthorization of this landmark piece of legislation that which seeks to reduce instances of domestic violence and protect women who are victims of such violence... We believe a bipartisan plan to reauthorize VAWA is more important than ever.

That is the information I'll leave you to ponder with today! It's amazing how little the media covers some issues that apply to so many people. Do you enjoy knowing and discussing politics?

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