On Thursday, the House finally reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) after waiting for around a year-and-a-half. Finally. The bill was originally passed in 1994 and has been re-approved twice since in 2000 and 2005. What is different about this time? Because three new specifics have been added which include protection for Native Americans, members of the LGBT community, and undocumented immigrants.
The bill offers protections for gay, bisexual or transgender victims of domestic abuse, which is self-explanatory. Additionally, the bill provides protection for Native American women who are assaulted on reservations by non-natives to take their case to tribal courts, which otherwise would not have jurisdiction over assailants who do not live on tribal land. Approximately 40% of Indigenous women are abused at some point in their life, with a significant percentage from men who are not Native American. Thus the women’s tribal lands were unable to prosecute their abuser. Lastly, the VAWA re-authorization also provides more access to services for immigrant victims of violence, and helps them obtain special visas to stay in the US if they are victims of a serious crime.
There were 160 Republicans and 0 Democrats – although one did abstain – that voted against the revised VAWA.
The oppostion from the Republican Party is of no surprise. They are still fighting to remain a white, anti-gay, male-dominant party and US power, even after the 2012 election results proved that this country no longer is a white, anti-gay, male-dominant party nor majority of citizens. No surprise. What really bothers me the most is that this selfish bigots were willing so “sacrifice” those women who have previously been under the protection of VAWA. The politicians who voted against the protection act were more concerned about their own beliefs than they were in protecting the women – and now men – of the country they were elected to serve… not dictate.
Want to know who in your state wanted to dictate who can and cannot be protected under the Violence Against Women Act? Here are all 160 members of this now infamous group. FYI… Surprisingly, WI Rep. Paul Ryan (R) voted yes. Ryan had previously stated he supported leaving the decisions up to the states. Sadly, Michele Bachmann voted “no.” She is so anti-gay that she would cut off her nose to spite her face – as well as pull such an important bill for all women just because of her personal ignorance. There were a few other women, too. Breaks my heart.
Mother Jones: MAPS: Did Your Congressmember Vote Against The Violence Against Women Act?
Mother Jones: GOP Caves, Stops Blocking Violence Against Women Act
Mother Jones: Republicans Are Blocking the Violence Against Women Act
Wikipedia: Violence Against Women Act
The New York Times: House Renews Violence Against Women Measure
Tha Washington Post: The Violence Against Women Act’s most interesting votes