As highlighted in a prior post, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), currently up for reauthorization, has been the target of attacks from the far-right. For your edification, here are a few more examples of the right-wing's anti-VAWA rhetoric.
First, in a recent commentary at its website, the FRC called the push for VAWA reauthorization a "cheap political trick" meant to paint Republicans as "sexist Neanderthals." The column accused VAWA supporters of trying to use abused women as "pawns" for their reelection by casting VAWA opponents as anti-woman. The commentary specifically criticized Sen. Harry Reid (D-Nevada) and Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-New York) for adding "loopholes for immigration" and "special homosexual protections" to the bill. The author speculated that the purpose of adding these provisions was solely to make VAWA unpalatable to Republican lawmakers, thereby forcing them to vote against it and foster the "lie" that the GOP is misogynist. VAWA, the commentary concluded, "does real violence to the budget and individual freedom."
Next, in a recent letter to the Washington Times, Gordon E. Finley accused VAWA supporters of "bullying" lawmakers to support the legislation. Finley asked if the country could afford to lose money down the "rathole" of allegedly unsuccessful "gender-ideology programs." Predictably, he claimed that VAWA was one of the left's weapons for destroying the traditional family by supposedly denying fathers their Constitutional rights, removing the father from the home, and damaging parental relationships through "false" allegations. Sound familiar?
In a February 19th commentary at the Independent Women's Forum website, Christina Villegas wrote that VAWA should be rewritten to address sexual assault and domestic violence "more generally" rather than create "special protections" for victim groups. Villegas claimed that "VAWA, from its inception, has sought to redistribute power and resources solely to female victims."
Actually, no it hasn't. VAWA clearly states that both male and female victims are eligible for services. I'm growing increasingly more annoyed with claims that VAWA allegedly excludes male victims when a short perusal of the legislation shows otherwise. Furthermore, acknowledging that certain groups need additional resources to address violence isn't "special protections," it's practical policy.
Also, a March 15th commentary at the Independent Women's Forum website claimed that VAWA too often gives funding to "advocates who view violence against women as rooted not in a criminal mindset or psychological problems but in the notion that there is a patriarchy that harms women."
Well, yeah. Violence against women is entwined with misogynist attitudes. It's not merely the result of mental illness, and it does not merely consist of isolated, gender-neutral crimes. What seems to be the problem with acknowledging that patriarchy exists?
Writing at Breibart, Dan Riehl insisted that the revised version of VAWA would increase funding for areas prone to fraud and increase the danger of visa abuse via deception by undocumented immigrants. Riehl claimed that the revised VAWA would give Indian tribes criminal jurisdiction over non-Indians, thereby supposedly endangering Constitutional protections. He reserved special criticism for the new VAWA's provisions for U-visas, which grant victims of certain crimes temporary legal status and work eligibility for a maximum of four years. Riehl claimed that U-visa recipients aren't required to aid criminal investigations.
Actually, according to U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, U-visa applicants must provide a certification from a law enforcement authority that they have been helpful, are being helpful, or are likely to be helpful to authorities investigating the crimes of which they were victims.
I expect the far-right to continue attacks on VAWA, ignoring the legislation's social and fiscal benefits. On a bright note, I also expect enlightened men and women to defend VAWA and encourage lawmakers to reauthorize the legislation, for the sake of domestic violence and sexual assault survivors across the country.
For additional commentary, visit the following links.
The New Civil Rights Movement: Tony Perkins: Violence Against Women Act A “Slush Fund” Unfair To Men
Philadelphia Enquirer: Score political points or help rape victims?
Slate: Why Is The GOP Turning Against Anti-Domestic-Violence Legislation?
The Root: Violence Against Women Act at Risk?