In just a few short days, if Congress doesn’t act, the Violence Against Women Act will die. It will die, because it will be unfunded, ignored and in truth, most people don’t seem to care. What? You have to be a feminist to care about violence against women?
The language in the Senate version of VAWA is clear. It offers protections to Native American women, who suffer at the rate of 3 out of every five women some kind of abuse, often at the hands of non-Native men. It would protect gays, lesbians and transgendered. It would protect immigrant women, who are often terrified to go to authorities, because of their status. The downside being that is lowers funding for states and on the federal level. (Leahy, 2011)
The other version (HR 4970), will leave vulnerable populations and immigrant women under the bus. Let Native women be exploited by non-Native men, leave the LBGTQ community still without protection and continue to let the abuser have the upper hand.
And pundits have said… “Maybe these people should make better choices…”
Better choices. Wow. Maybe people should just grow up. Understand that relationships, which should be based on mutual trust, love and respect, are difficult. And that using your fists is not the answer. And those actions have consequences.
But they don’t really.
Too often the abuser spends no real time in jail, and is out before the victim can get away. And if the victim can get away, the abuser finds them and stalks them.
“Like domestic violence, stalking is a crime of power and control. Stalking is conservatively defined as "a course of conduct directed at a specific person that involves repeated (two or more occasions) visual or physical proximity, nonconsensual communication, or verbal, written, or implied threats, or a combination thereof, that would cause a reasonable person fear."  Stalking behaviors also may include persistent patterns of leaving or sending the victim unwanted items or presents that may range from seemingly romantic to bizarre, following or lying in wait for the victim, damaging or threatening to damage the victim's property, defaming the victim's character, or harassing the victim via the Internet by posting personal information or spreading rumors about the victim.” (Department of Justice, 2007)
And this is OK?
Again, too often, the victim (regardless of sex, this is being added for you know who…) is killed before the abuser is brought to justice, because the most dangerous time for the victim is as the victim is leaving. And the thing is, if the victim kills the abuser, the victim will spend more time in jail than the abuser would if he/she kill his/her victim.
We have seen recently the ugly face of violence, with the murder/suicide of Kansas City Chiefs football player Jovan Belcher and his girlfriend. How much more do we need to see to drive this home? Do we need to see elder abuse, splashed on the front page? A new Trail of Tears, with only Native “comfort women”? How about scenes of Jeffery Dahmer, chasing one of his victims, and lying to the police about it being a spat between lovers? Think about these kinds of scenes. And ask yourself… is this the kind of society that you want to live in…