Violence Against Women Act

Rebecca - posted on 01/08/2013 ( 7 moms have responded )

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What do you think about Congress allowing the 'Violence Against Women Act' to expire?

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Denikka - posted on 01/08/2013

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My understanding of it is that the act gave special funds ($1.6 billion dollars) towards the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women and imposed restitution for the victims.

I'm kind of torn on this one. As much as I believe every crime, especially violent ones, should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, I'm not sure why violent crimes against women should have special funding and should automatically require restitution.
I firmly believe in equality. So every violent crime should be prosecuted fully and require restitution if that is what's being offered to women. I don't think that crimes specifically against women should have extra/special funding.
I think that every crime should be equal (within a subset of crimes. Obviously robbery or forgery is not equal to murder). Murder is murder, it shouldn't matter if the victim was man, woman or child. All crimes should be investigated equally, no matter who the victim or who the perpetrator. And within certain extremes, the punishment should be equal (I totally don't agree with someone committing essentially equal crimes-say murder during a break in-and one getting 25yrs to life and the other getting only 5 yrs)

So...I don't know how I feel about this particular act expiring. Were it less sexist, I may be more inclined towards being upset. If it was something like an the Domestic Violence Act, or the Violent Crimes Act, yes, I would be upset.
I hope they bring in something new that encompasses violent acts against all people, not just against women.

Rebecca - posted on 01/09/2013

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Interesting perspective. I believe in equality as well. That said, as women are not treated equally in our society, as indicated by many metrics (e.g. pay), paired with the fact that women are typically physically smaller than men (that most violent crimes against women are perpetrated by men), and therefore more vulnerable, I see no reason why there should not be extra services allocated. Statistically, women are more likely to be raped. Women are more likely to be the victims of domestic violence. Women could not even vote until 1920. Equality is not something experienced by women, though it is a great vision to strive for. I think the biggest travesty about allowing the act to expire is that it takes the collective spotlight off of the issue of violence against women. But all in all, Danikka, I too firmly believe in equality. Thanks for sharing.

Any one else?

Kirsten - posted on 01/29/2013

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I think it's a cop-out. It didn't become so much of a problem until LGBT and Native American women were added. That is where my problem comes in.
Yes, I believe there is a big problem with men being made to feel as if they are weak if they were to report domestic abuse or rape; however, this does not negate the significant number of cases in which women are either made to feel as if they are at fault for being a victim or their feelings are invalid or exaggerated. VAWA was meant to shine a light more than anything.
What we should all be disgusted by is that there were several Congressmen quoted as saying that they were against VAWA because of the added protection for Native American women. Non-native men can go onto a reservation and assault native women because laws are already in place to prevent those men from being prosecuted by tribal counsel. And if you know anything about how things work regarding "reservation business," no US court will touch a case involving American Indian tribe members. So the change was made so that that could be rectified! The fact that some of our representatives want to leave those women exposed is unconscionable!

Karla - posted on 01/19/2013

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I'm sure it's true that crimes of rape against men are under reported, but the same is true of women as well. Therefore the statistics still represent the general percentages of male and female victims of rape.

Even though I understand the ideology that all crimes should be treated equal as far as investigation and prosecution, the facts point to a marked disinterest in thorough investigations of rape. The number of unprocessed rape kits alone indicates a problem in this area.

From what I have read the conservatives did not support the parts of the Act that gave protection to same sex partners and to provisions allowing battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas. I don't hold their view on those particular issues.

I'm not certain, but from what I read the Act did cover homosexual men. I know last year the new bill reduced services for illegal immigrants and LGBT communities.

I've also read the the ACLU found the VAWA to be very effective legislation in curtailing domestic violence, etc. I do think some of the educational aspects of the bill were being directed to men (defining what rape is, educating on what to do when you see someone in distress, etc.)

I think many things got eclipsed by the fiscal cliff issue. The congress was working on this in April, there should have been a final bill for the President to sign by the first of the year, but there wasn't. I actually find this frustrating and indicative of more inaction, or too little too late done by our legislators. It was in action for 18 years, I think they should have renewed it.

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Denikka - posted on 01/09/2013

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Most instances of rape and domestic abuse against men go unreported. So statistic mean a lot less in this situation than they should.
I would rather see the spotlight on issues like rape or domestic abuse, instead of on rape against women or domestic abuse against women.
Even if women truly are in the majority of being the victims of these particular crimes (and I will agree that all signs point to the fact that they ARE in the majority, regardless of what is or isn't reported), then female victims would receive more of the benefits.
I just firmly believe that the spotlight should be on the CRIME itself, regardless of the gender of the perpetrator or the gender of the victim.
Stating that these services are specifically for crimes against women negates the suffering of the men who are suffering/have suffered the same crime and neglects to get them the services and justice that they deserve just as much as a female victim.

Unless there is a crime that is committed SOLELY against a specific gender (I can't think of any), then the services should be offered to the victims of the crime. I would feel the same if the government offered special services to only victims who were black, or Asian, or Caucasian, or whatever. The ONLY exception I find to this is victims who are unable to do for themselves, specifically children or severely disabled people (sometimes the elderly would fall into this category also, specifically in cases of dementia, Alzheimer, etc)

I truly hope someone else responds. I really want to see other people's opinions on this, especially as equality in the world (and this is an excellent example) is a large cornerstone of my beliefs and world view. It's always interesting to see if others agree with me, or if they disagree in a way that can cause me to re examine my own thoughts.

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