The Violence Against Women Act was renewed today.  The original bill was passed in 1994 but had expired in 2011.

Some details from

The bill renews a 1994 law that has set the standard for how to protect  women, and some men, from domestic abuse and prosecute abusers. Thursday’s  286-138 vote came after House lawmakers rejected a more limited approach offered  by Republicans.

It was the third time this year that House Speaker John Boehner has allowed  Democrats and moderates in his own party prevail over the GOP’s much larger  conservative wing. As with a Jan. 1 vote to avoid the fiscal cliff and  legislation to extend Superstorm Sandy aid, a majority of House Republicans  voted against the final anti-violence bill.

The law has been renewed twice before without controversy, but it lapsed in  2011 as it was caught up in the partisan battles that now divide Congress. Last  year, the House refused to go along with a Senate-passed bill that would have  made clear that lesbians, gays, immigrants and Native American women should have  equal access to Violence Against Women Act programs.

Why would 138 Republican Congressmen vote against this act? It was a renewal, so there were no surprises.  Are those Republicans in favor of violence against women?  Why shouldn’t lesbians, gays, immigrants and Native American women share this protection?  I would assume that gale males would not be protected under this act.

The Senate passed its bill on a 78-22 vote.   Every Democrat, every woman  senator and 23 of 45 Republicans supported it.  Fox News explained:

American Indian women suffer incidents of domestic violence at rates more than  double national averages, but American Indian courts don’t have jurisdiction  over non-American Indians, and federal prosecutors don’t take up about half the  violence cases on reservations because of lack of resources to pursue crimes on  isolated American Indian lands. The Senate bill would give American Indian  courts the ability to prosecute non-American Indians for a limited set of crimes  limited to domestic violence and violations of protecting orders. Opponents have  said that raises constitutional issues.

Likely story….the old “constitutional issues” excuse.  Tribal courts aren’t all THAT complicated.

Fox News outlined the highlights of the Violence Against Women Act:

The Violence Against Women Act is credited with helping reduce domestic  violence incidents by two-thirds over the past two decades. The Senate bill  would authorize some $659 million a year over five years to fund current  programs that provide grants for transitional housing, legal assistance, law  enforcement training and hotlines.

The Senate bill adds stalking to the list of crimes that make immigrants  eligible for protection and authorizes programs dealing with sexual assault on  college campuses and with efforts to reduce the backlog in rape kit analyses. It  reauthorizes the Trafficking Victims Protection Act.

These all sound like excellent choices.  I can’t imagine why 138 idiots would vote against a bill that protects women.  What are they , American Taliban or what?  I simply do not understand.  Domestic abuse has always been a problem, ever since it was legal to beat your wife if she didn’t do what she was told to do.  Those days are gone, thank goodness, but some folks haven’t gotten the message.  Others have impulse control problems.  Still others have substance abuse issues.  Substance abuse and violence often go hand in hand.

Congressman Wittman my new congressman that I inherited voted against VAWA.   So did my old congressman, Frank Wolf.  Shame shame shame on you nasty extremist old men.

Here is the link so you can check to see if your congressman or congresswoman is a human being or like mine, apparently thinks violence against women is acceptable.

Photo essay   of the portrait of violence  (disturbing)

The story of  the photo journalist




27 Thoughts to “Violence Against Women Act Renewed”

  1. It looks like every last Republican from Virginia voted against renewing the Violence Against Women Act.

    What a bunch of losers. The Democrats voted aye.

  2. Scout

    This is not a federal issue. I admit to not having read the bill, but I can’t get my head around why this gets addressed at the federal level. Moreover, I thought violent acts against anyone – men, women, and children (even animals in many instances) – were already illegal. Why is Congress messing with this on the Eve of Budgetary Destruction?

    1. Americans don’t like a patchwork of laws. Beating the snot out of someone in Virginia ought to carry the same weight in Virginia as it does in Montana.

      It is a uniform law against domestic abuse. I think the operative word is uniform. It also allows for federal funds for safe houses and shelters.

      one of the main components of the Act is protection for Indian women. Heretofore, non-Indian men couldn’t be prosecuted in Indian courts and federal courts were too backlogged to handle the cases. With the VAWA in effect, that all changes and non Indian men can be prosecuted in Indian courts. Domestic violence has been reduced by 2/3s over the past 2 decades.

      Let’s say that VAWA gives some relief for a black eye some teeth.

  3. Lyssa

    Illegal doesnt stop it – been to any Shelter lately? Besides when economy goes bad violence goes up.

    1. If it has been reduced by 2/3rds, then it must be helping somewhat.

      Domestic violence is pernious. Perhaps we need to treat it differently than other crimes. After all, it used to be perfectly legal to use corporal punishment on one’s wife, daughter, etc.

  4. Scout

    I accept virtually all that has been said above, but I don’t see why “beating the snot” out of someone in one part of the country should carry the same penalty as in another. If that were the case, the Constitution would have granted the federal government powers of the police and the ability to criminalize everything. But we know for a fact that there are different penalties from one state to another (e.g., some states don’t have the death penalty). I also doubt that “Americans don’t like a patchwork of laws.” My experience has been that Americans (or at least their elected officials) absolutely love a patchwork of laws. I have a helluva time dealing with states and localities that run off and try to do local things on environmental or immigration issues even when it is crystal clear that federal programs in those areas are preemptive. But in this case, we’re talking about assault and battery, something that falls well within the powers of states and localities to control. What is the federal interest that puts this in the halls of Congress? Interstate commerce?

    1. If you and I had an altercation in the Giant parking lot, you punched me in the nose, that is an A & B. If I then go home and my husband beats the snot out of me, that’s different. I believe that women have pushed for this legislation for years because of the history of prosecuting wife beaters. There has been too much wink wink nudge nudge. If my husband is a golfing buddy of the police chief’s, the case could get buried. Seriously. Who is going to right this wrong without VAWA?

      It happened all the time. Then there is the Inidan woman situation. That is enough reason right there to have such a law.

  5. Lyssa

    Because some idiots in backward places still think its okay. That’s why.

  6. Some idiots in not so backwards places still think its ok also.

    The federal law does a lot with safe shelters and also just education…symptoms of abusers, etc. Yardley Love who was killed by her boyfriend at UVA comes to mind.

    I fully support it being a federal law. There should be no variance between what is seen as abuse in Montana and what is seen as abuse in Oklahoma.

    Perhaps it is a female thing…..

  7. Lyssa

    Like insurance considering domestic violence a pre-existing condition!! How about that.

  8. The Washignton Post has a scary story about domestic violence.

    Woven within the story you can see how casually domestic violence was treated.

    The overall rate of intimate-partner violence dropped more than 60 percent between 1994 and 2010, a U.S. Department of Justice study found.

  9. Lyssa

    Of what is reported.

  10. Scout

    @ Moon: The ideal should be that the law would recognize no difference between my beating you up in the parking lot and your husband beating you up at home (to use hypotheticals). I get that. My problem is that I don’t know where the federal authority to legislate in this area comes from, at least in terms of categorizing crimes. Moreover, I don’t see how federal law could displace state law on this subject. It may be that the law is not primarily about prosecuting violence, as Lyssa suggests, and covers support programs etc.

    1. I don’t know the answer to that. Maybe it doesn’t replace state law in all states?

      I think it is needed. Maybe its to ensure equal protection?

      Stop thinking Scout. You are coming up with things I can’t answer. :mrgreen:

  11. Lyssa

    Believe it or not, there is still some sex-discrimination in the US. Domestic violence victims are sometimes victims of the courts, police and I’ve mentioned the insurance issues. So its a civil rights issue. A big problem with domestic violence is the large number of unreported incidents. Restraining orders are a joke. So, yes there are some educational and support programs included but states need to be reviewed for civil rights violations.

    1. Great reply Lyssa. Rape victims have long been victims of the courts also. In that article I referenced from the Post, the woman got to not press charges after being shot. that would not happen today. The minute she is harmed it is no longer Jane Doe vs Jim Doe. It becomes The People vs Jim Doe. (how it was once explained to me) I think that is a good thing. Women always get guilted over pressing charges so they just used to put their eyeball back in their socket and forgive and keep on having Stockholm Syndrome.

  12. Lyssa

    It was my exposure to violence against women and children that changed my mind about the death penalty.

  13. Scout

    The federal civil rights legislation of the 1960s was based on the Interstate Commerce Clause. Beating up a wife in a home doesn’t seem to me to have any commerce issues.

    1. Once the concept of civil rights has been established though, then that can be the foundation, can it not?

      Scout, I can’t compete. You have a skill set I don’t have. I remember the little knickers you once said.

      I guess the federal angle is the same thing as he HIPPA laws for patients or however you spell it. Those are uniform federal laws.

      Can’t we just agree that beating women is deplorable and that uniform laws protecting them from violence is a good thing rather than a bad thing?

      I honestly don’t see why anyone would be against such a law. Let’s approach this from another angle–why was it overwhelmingly passed in 1994 and again in 2006 without anyone skipping a beat and now, all of a sudden, there is a hue and cry? I smell a tea party rat.

  14. Scout

    The federal civil rights legislation of the 1960s was based on the Interstate Commerce Clause. Motels, restaurants, bus lines, etc. were discriminating against African-Americans and the impact clearly impeded movement throughout the country. Beating up a wife in a home, as hideous and objectionable as it is, doesn’t seem to me to have any commerce issues. I don’t see why there is a federal “angle” on this.

  15. Lyssa

    I’m really not going to attempt to defend the violence against women act with you. Clearly, you have little or no experience with abuse. Lucky you.

  16. Scout

    Whether I had a lot of experience or a little experience wouldn’t have any effect on the issue of the source of federal authority to legislate in this area. I think we can agree that we oppose physical or emotional abuse against women, men, children, and animals. I don’t think we’re talking about that. At least I’m not.

    1. The degree to which we can discuss the law though has a great deal to do with skill level. Yours trumps mine.

  17. Scout

    Skill doesn’t have much to do with it, Moon. There are a lot of lawyers with pretty low skill levels. For all anyone knows here, I may be one of them, although I don’t think I’ve said that I’m a lawyer (it would not be an unreasonable inference, however).

    But there is this one zone where policy (where all of us citizens are on equal footing as far as having opinions go) and law overlap. This is in the area of organic authority to do this or that. It is constrained by the Constitution. In most instances in the blog world, I try to explain to NFCs about basic constitutional federalism, almost always in circumstances where they think states and localities have a lot more authority than they do. This is one of those rare instances where I find federal authority a bit doubtful, but admit that I haven’t followed this legislation closely.

    1. @scout, you did say you went to law school and wore knickers. :mrgreen:

      My only point is I can’t argue constitutional basis for law unless it is real obvious. It isn’t part of my skill set.

      I am not a states rights person 80% of the time. I felt losing the Civil War pretty much nullified that devine cause.

      Without federal “interference” I don’t see how Indian women would be afforded any protection at all if non-Indian offenders cant be prosecuted in tribal court and federal court is back logged to the point nothing ever happens.

      I find it strange that the VAWA has been around for the past 19 years and no one even blinked, until just recently when this naysayer mentality arose. Did 135 congressmen turn in to Neandertals?

  18. Elena

    Here is a very informative link on the VAWA.

    Here is another quote:

    The 1994 bill was a watershed, marking the first comprehensive federal legislative package designed to end violence against women. It was also a triumph for women’s groups that lobbied hard to persuade Congress to legislate federal protections for women on the grounds that states were failing in their efforts to address this violence. VAWA included provisions on rape and battering that focused on prevention, funding for victim services and evidentiary matters. It included the first federal criminal law against battering and a requirement that every state afford full faith and credit to orders of protection issued anywhere in the United States. Since the passage of VAWA, from law enforcement to victim services to Capitol Hill, there has been a paradigm shift in how the issue of violence against women is addressed.

    The real life horror story of Tracey Thurman. THIS is why there was a need for a Federal VAWA.

  19. Scout

    Elena: I read the Tracey Thurman link and don’t see why a federal solution was necessary. It sounds like this was a state law issue. It’s a horrible story, one that I suspect is repeated all too often, but it doesn’t explain why the federal government, as opposed to state governments should act in reaction.

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