The Violence Against Women Act, H.R. 1620, passed the U.S. House of Representatives this week. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) was originally passed in 1994 to meet the needs of domestic violence victims. It was focused largely on women, as women were overwhelmingly the victims in these cases. Unfortunately, this recent version of VAWA might need a new name, as it proposes removing women from its text in the pursuit of progressive cultural change.

This shouldn’t be surprising. Every five years, this bill is supposed to be reauthorized, and each time the process becomes more political. It seems the bill is more focused on expanding a progressive political agenda than delivering assistance, protection, and the right of self-defense to those facing domestic violence and sexual assault.  

In different titles of this legislation the word “women” is struck out and the word “people” replaces it. We see women erased again when the language strikes “violence against women” and inserts “violence against adults, youth.”  There is no doubt that men can be victims of domestic violence, but the law is meant to address the reality that women are most commonly the victims of these crimes.

Progressive ideology is evident in other parts of this legislation. One section of this current VAWA defines our nation’s healthcare system as racist. The legislative text describes how to improve the health care system’s response and it identifies “current and historic systemic racism in health care services.”

Other sections of this bill outline huge expansions of federal housing programs and the unemployment compensation system seeking to address domestic violence survivor needs—but ignores privacy concerns and cost.

Second Amendment rights are threatened by this current version of VAWA, as the bill outlines the use of ex parte court order proceedings and broadly expands the category of persons prohibited from possessing firearms. 

Concern for female safety and privacy is brushed aside throughout this version of VAWA. Men who identify as women would be placed with women in prisons and in shelters, should this legislation become law. 

The Violence Against Women Act should emphasize the fact that women are overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. VAWA programs should never put female safety and dignity at risk in the pursuit of a political agenda.