The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed the U.S. House of Representatives recently and is awaiting action in the United States Senate. It 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.
The legislation has undergone many changes over the years and unfortunately, the current version of 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.
As a matter of fact, it is fair to wonder whether the Violence Against Women Act is no longer protecting women and has strayed too far from its original and worthy purpose.
-Statement by the White House, March 17, 2021
Mostly false or misleading. Significant errors or omissions. Mostly make believe.
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. 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.
This version of VAWA no longer prioritizes the comfort and safety of women victims. The bill would allow biological males to access and use female-only domestic violence shelters, putting the safety of the women and young girls in those shelters at risk. A woman who has just narrowly escaped an abuser probably wouldn’t welcome sharing her sleeping quarters with a biological male. The bill could also enable male prisoners to be housed in women’s prisons. Concern for female security and privacy is brushed aside throughout this version of VAWA.
Every five years, this bill is supposed to be reauthorized, and each time the process becomes more political. Progressive ideology is evident in other parts of this legislation. 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. This VAWA expands tribal sovereignty in domestic violence cases without including any accompanying due process protections for the accused. It emphasizes “alternative justice” which circumvents the criminal justice process and outlines a massive expansion of the unemployment compensation system as a way to compensate survivors.
The Violence Against Women Act should return to its original focus on assisting women, still overwhelmingly the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault, and tailor its programs and assistance in a realistic way.