VAWA: Once Bipartisan, it is now a ‘war on women’ tool

BettyJean Downing

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), a bipartisan bill, which first passed in 1994 and has been reauthorized twice since then, increased federal penalties for domestic violence and provided funding for groups and services that aid victims of domestic abuse. The bill hit the bipartisan sweet spot of being both tough on crime and oriented toward women’s rights. Usually it’s reauthorized without much fanfare. This time around, however, several Senate Republicans, led by Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), are putting up a fight. Despite the fact that the bill has several Republican sponsors, all eight GOP senators on the Judiciary Committee voted against the bill when the committee considered it last month.( Sens. Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID))
VAWA’s reauthorization bill that protects victims of domestic violence has been stalled because of the insertion of additional provisions that were added to the original bill. Additions include undocumented immigrants, as well as LGBT and Native American victims of domestic violence. Congress failed to reauthorize the amended bill by the end of 2012, and the Senate is now considering the same legislation again, in its new legislative session.
All of the women in the Senate, with the exception of Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE), co-sponsored the legislation. If it passes the Senate it will go to the house where it is expected to face tougher scrutiny.
Here’s a quick breakdown of what has the GOP riled up.
1- Tribal law: The current version of the Violence Against Women Act would allow tribal authorities to prosecute non-Indians for domestic violence cases on Indian reservations, but Republicans are opposing it because they don’t like the idea of Native American law applying to non-tribe members.
2- Immigration: The original Violence Against Women Act contained provisions that allow undocumented victims of domestic violence to apply for legal status, called a U visa, if they agree to cooperate with law enforcement.
3- LGBT rights: “I agree that shelters and other grant recipients should provide services equally to everyone,” said Grassley. “But advocates of this provision haven’t produced data that shelters have refused to provide services for these reasons.” He added that the nondiscrimination provisions were “a political statement that shouldn’t be made on a bill that is designed to address actual needs of victims.”
Here is another example of the real war against women- changing a reauthorization they know would have sailed through was designed to use women in order to hurt the other party:
Clearly a clean bill without the new provisions would have been reauthorized immediately, apparently one party is again using women to start a fight with the other party at women’s expense. Pass the bill as is without adding these three extra’s that are purposely holding up the bill so the Elephants in the room can be blamed for refusing to pass the bill. Clearly the Jackasses are responsible for this! Isn’t it time politicians stop the war on women as a tool to fight each other. Enough we are not a political tool – we are the majority and we deserve better.
Women we must stand up and demand that we will no longer tolerate being used on any level. Unite against this! Call your representatives and demand they reauthorize the original bill and deal with the other issues separately. VAWA must be reauthorized NOW!

We need to elect her BUT … Hold her feet to the fire.

BettyJean Downing

As founder of The Majority United (TMU) I get to chat with  many women across the nation about  various issues affecting them . Because TMU is a non partisan organization, women from both sides of the aisle freely express their concerns and we at TMU are in the position to hear how they see things from a political perspective.

The longer I listen to women and how the  two parties have polarized women against their sisters along liberal and conservative ideology the more I am convinced we need our own political party. A party dedicated to equality to all and concerned for the welfare of women and children in general terms rather than narrow special interests. All women deserve equality under the Constitution for example. All women deserve equal pay for equal work and for that matter equal opportunity toward qualifying for any work they chose and qualify to do. All women deserve to be treated with due respect and enjoy the pursuit of happiness without fear of sexual harassment, intimidation, retribution or duress. All women deserve to be free of sexualization by the government, courts, or the media.

As it stands now- we have little representation considering we are the majority of the citizenry and what representation we have is divided along party lines nevermore to be for the benefit of all women. Female representatives are forced to played the all boys club rules or face a fate worse than death. Our halls of justice, seats of power and the like are filled with women who have learned to play the game rather than actually represent womankind. Instead they tow the party line which plies women with narrow promises tailored to keep women in their place. Crumbs are given out to each party’s women in increments enough to keep them quiet.

Women have more in common then they have to fight about and yet the political parties  fail to serve women  on the very issues that matter most, instead they keep them fighting over the most divisive issues.

Evidently it is advantageous for the two parties to keep the majority divided against itself, however, it is clearly damaging to women as a group.  Every other group no matter how large or small enjoys camaraderie and fights for the rights of the group as a whole except women! Instead woman is satisfied to join a minority group or groups and fight for the civil  rights of anything but the majority.

Ironically, in these small groups they manage to win and win big- IMAGINE what they could accomplish as the majority?

Another election will find us voting for women but will we vote on party lines yet again? Sure we will and we will not hold her feet to the fire even though we- as the majority can rule the nation – if only we had the sense to stand together. Female representation stands at about 17%, we deserve 50 %, and what good would it do us if they are just as divided as the men are, and if they are just as deaf, dumb and blind to women’s needs as the men are?

Yes – it is time to vote for more women. Regardless of party vote women into office but before you do – tell them we expect no less than representation of all women from them. No more politics as usual- we want ERA on the table front and center. We want non-partisan politics that serves the nations women not the politicians that are there to serve not be served.

Will Hillary run? Perhaps! Will I vote for her? Probably! Until we get a new party – it doesn’t matter which of these two is in office, they  are two wings of the same party. It’s up to us to demand representation for all our women instead of one half or the other.

Vote for women but hold her feet to the fire!