This week, the United States House of Representatives Committee on Rules is scheduled to consider an amended version of S. 47, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act (VAWA) of 2013. S. 47 originated in the Senate and passed overwhelmingly with bipartisan support (78-12) on February 12, 2013.
The National Coalition Against Domestic Violence and the AAUW are strongly opposed to the United States House of Representatives version of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2013 pending before the Rules Committee. “The House version of the bill rolls back current law and fails victims in a number of critical ways:
• Fails to include the protections for LGBT victims from the Senate bill;
• Provides non-tribal batterers with additional tools to manipulate the justice system, takes away existing protections for Native women by limiting existing tribal power to issue civil orders of protection against non-Native abusers, while weakening protections for Native women;
• Contains harsh administrative penalties and hurdles for small struggling domestic violence and sexual assault programs and an additional layer of bureaucracy through the office of the Attorney General;
• Drops the Campus Sexual Violence Elimination (SAVE) Act, which is included in the Senate bill, that improves the handling of sexual violence and intimate partner violence on college campuses;
• Drops important provisions in the Senate bill that work toward erasing the rape kit backlog;
• Weakens protections for victims in public housing; and
• Drops the inclusion of “stalking” among the list of crimes covered by the U visa (a critical law enforcement tool that encourages immigrant victims to assist with the investigation or prosecution of certain enumerated crimes)”
“The only VAWA bill that we can endorse is the original S.47, a bill that passed the Senate overwhelmingly with bipartisan support and aims to protect all victims as well as hold all perpetrators accountable– regardless of race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, immigrant status or sexual orientation.”
“NCADV stands in solidarity with more than 1,300 advocacy organizations, including the National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence, and urges the House to vote no on the VAWA measure pending before the Rules Committee.”
Act now and join advocacy organizations across the country in opposing the United States House of Representatives’ VAWA measure by contacting your House member. For additional information, see the NCADV website and the NTF Alert.
Sources: NCADV Action Alert. AAUW Action Alert
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Not all homes provide a safe haven. For the victims of domestic violence, home is a place where hearts and lives are broken. Family violence spares no one. The partner who is battered and the children who watch, or who themselves may be abused, all suffer. Their physical and emotional pain is long-lasting.
Domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of women. For far too many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Yet, domestic violence is a subject that we, as a society, are reluctant to talk about. As a result, victims often suffer and die in silence. And despite the intense media attention recently focused on a few high profile courtroom cases, the public remains largely uninformed about the nature and warning signs of domestic violence.
Until recently, domestic violence was viewed as a “private family matter” as opposed to a crime against society with potentially lethal consequences. Increasingly our public institutions—law enforcement, the courts, policy makers, health care providers, and social service providers—are recognizing incidents of domestic violence as violent criminal acts with devastating consequences for individual victims, their children, and the community, and are seeking effective methods for dealing with this pressing public health issue. Community support and involvement are integral parts of domestic violence prevention and intervention.
The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has provided funding for much needed supportive programs for victims of domestic violence. The National Task to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women in its recent action alert reminds us that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is before the Senate. This week’s action alert requests that we call our Senators to urge them to: 1) pass VAWA; and 2) to vote against any weakening or non-germane amendments.
GOAL: Pass VAWA in the Senate this week!
ACTION ITEM: CALL YOUR SENATORS TODAY!!!
S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill – with 61 sponsors – that would reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), sponsored by Senators Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Michael Crapo (R-ID) is headed to the Senate floor for debate TODAY and a vote on final passage could occur as early as THURSDAY! This bill is very similar to the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence.
With 61 sponsors, victory is in sight. In anticipation of the impending vote, we need you to take action TODAY by contacting your Senators and ask them to vote YES on S. 47. We also need to remind Senators If you do not see your Senator on the list of co-sponsors below, call the Capitol switchboard at 202) 224-3121 and ask the operator to connect you to your Senators. If you do not know who your Senators are, you can look them up here (http://www.senate.gov/general/contact_information/senators_cfm.cfm). When you’re connected to their offices, ask to speak to the staff person who handles VAWA.
If your Senator is already cosponsoring, tell or leave a message for the staff person:
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
2) I want to thank Senator____ for co-sponsoring S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and voting YES on the bill. Please urge Senator _____________ to follow Senator Leahy’s lead and vote NO on any weakening or non-germane amendments.
If your Senator is NOT already cosponsoring, tell or leave a message for the staff person:
1) I am a constituent from (city and state) and my name is _________.
2) I urge Senator____ to co-sponsor S. 47, a strong, bipartisan bill that would reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, and to vote YES on the bill and vote NO on any weakening or non-germane amendments.
3) Thank you and I look forward to hearing that the Senator is a co-sponsor and/or voted for VAWA without harmful amendments.
Thus far, the bill has the following sponsors: Senators Ayotte, Kelly (R-NH), Baldwin, Tammy (D-WI), Baucus, Max (D-MT) , Begich, Mark (D-AK), Bennet, Michael (D-CO), Blumenthal, Richard (D-CT), Boxer, Barbara (D-CA), Brown, Sherrod (D-OH), Cantwell, Maria (D-WA), Cardin, Benjamin (D-MD), Carper, Thomas (D-DE) Casey, Robert (D-PA), Collins, Susan (R-ME), Coons, Chris (D-DE), Crapo, Mike (R-ID), Donnelly, Joe (D-IN) Durbin, Richard (D-IL), Feinstein, Dianne (D-CA), Franken, Al (D-MN), Gillibrand, Kirsten (D-NY), Hagan, Kay (D-NC), Harkin, Tom (D-IA), Heinrich, Martin (D-NM), Heitkamp, Heidi (D-ND), Heller, Dean (R-NV), Hirono, Mazie (D-HI), Johnson, Tim (D – SD), Kaine, Tim (D-VA) King, Angus (I-ME), Kirk, Mark (R-IL), Klobuchar, Amy (D-MN), Landrieu, Mary (D-LA), Lautenberg, Frank R. (D-NJ) Leahy, Patrick (D-VT), Levin, Carl (D-MI) McCaskill, Claire (D-MO), Manchin, Joe (D-WV) ,Menendez, Robert (D-NJ), Merkley, Jeff (D-OR), Mikulski, Barbara (D-MD), Moran, Jerry (R-KS), Murkowski, Lisa (R-AK), Murphy, Christopher (D-CT) Murray, Patty (D-WA), Nelson, Bill (D-FL) Pryor, Mark (D-AR), Reed, Jack (D-RI), Reid, Harry (D-NV), Rockefeller, John D (D-WV), Sanders, Bernard (I-VT), Schatz, Brian (D-HI) Schumer, Charles (D-NY), Shaheen, Jeanne (D-NH), Stabenow, Debbie (D-MI), Tester, Jon (D-MT), Udall, Mark (D-CO), Udall, Tom (D-NM), Warner, Mark (D-VA), Warren, Elizabeth (D-MA), Whitehouse, Sheldon (D-RI), Wyden, Ron (D-OR).
Please thank these Senators for their early support of the Violence Against Women Act.
Potential Sponsors of S. 47
Fischer, Deb – (R – NE) The only woman Senator, out of 20, who has yet to sponsor VAWA
Alexander, Lamar – (R – TN)
Coats, Daniel – (R – IN)
Corker, Bob (R-TN)
Hoeven, John – (R – ND)
McCain, John – (R – AZ)
Portman, Rob – (R – OH)
Vitter, David – (R – LA)
Cornyn, John – (R – TX)
Enzi, Michael B. – (R – WY)
Graham, Lindsey – (R – SC)
Grassley, Chuck – (R – IA)
Hatch, Orrin G. – (R – UT)
Rubio, Marco – (R – FL)
Toomey, Patrick J. – (R – PA)
–Voted for VAWA 2012
Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women – more than car accidents, muggings, and rape combined. And studies suggest that up to 10 million children witness some form of domestic abuse annually. Since its enactment in 1994, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) has saved lives and saved money.
Urge your senators to cosponsor VAWA and move this bill forward. With an equal amount of conscience, mind, heart, and collective action, we can end violence against women. In 2013, each of us should commit ourselves to halting violence within our homes, our communities, and our nation—toward that goal, contact your federal elected officials about co-sponsoring the Violence Against Women Act.
Source(s): National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women Action Alert; National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV); American Association of University Women (AAUW). CDC.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Verizon collects no-longer-used cell phones, batteries, and accessories and either refurbishes or recycles the phones. The refurbished cell phones along with 3,000 minutes of wireless service are provided to victims of domestic violence.
For many women violence and danger are their constant companions. Research indicates that one in four women will experience domestic violence in her lifetime.[i] Indigent women are more vulnerable. As woman rebuild their lives, the refurbished cell phones serve as a link to supportive services in a time of crisis.
The pervasive problem of domestic violence takes everyone to make it stop. Consider donating your used cell phone— you could possibly save someone’s life.
For further information about Verizon’s cell phone donation process visit: http://aboutus.vzw.com/communityservice/hopeLine.html.
Photocredit: Microsoft Clip Art
[i] Tjaden, Patricia & Thoennes, Nancy, National Institute of Justice and the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention, 1993, “Extent, Nature and Consequences of Intimate Partner Violence: Findings from the National Violence Against Women Survey,” (2000).Photo Credit Microsoft Clip Art
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month (DVAM). While national attention to this pressing public health issue has increased dramatically, domestic violence continues to pose a clear and present danger to the health and well-being of women.
Poverty and domestic violence are interconnected. Studies demonstrate that impoverished women experience high rates of violence by a male partner with some as high as 50% of women receiving welfare having experienced physical abuse at some point in their adult lives.
In recognition of National Domestic Violence Month, many of the most on this blog with discuss: the dynamics of domestic violence; preventation and intervention programs and services; and books on this topic such as Getting Free and Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life.
Much like the author’s earlier work Getting Free, this book is a must read for battered women and their allies in the struggle to eradicate domestic violence. In Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life, the author includes new information gleaned from the most recent research on the topic of domestic violence. Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Lifeincludes an even broader range of topics related to domestic violence than was covered in the author’s first book.
The new book includes an analysis of whether batterers’ treatment really works. It discusses which programs help violent abusers to change and which do not. The author also discusses research on the correlation between domestic violence and child abuse as well as many other topics. For further information, visit Seal Press at http://www.sealpress.com.
Sources: Getting Free. Getting Free: You Can End Abuse and Take Back Your Life. Seal Press.
Photo Credit: Microsoft Clip Art
 Susan Schechter. “Expanding Solutions for Domestic Violence and Poverty: What Battered Women with Abused Children Need from Their Advocates.”
Stalking is an increasing problem. Stalking is 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” (Tjaden and Thoennes,1998).
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 laying 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. As part of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2005, Congress extended the Federal interstate stalking statute to include cyberstalking (18 U.S.C. §2261 A).
The overwhelming majority of stalking victims are women (78 percent), and the majority of offenders (87 percent) are men. Nearly 60 percent of women and 30 percent of men are stalked by a current partner (Tjaden and Thoennes, 1998). The Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that 3.4 million persons over 18 were victims of stalking in a one-year period. Baum et al, Bureau of Justice Statistics Special Report, National Crime Victimization Survey, Stalking Victimization in the United States (January 2009). More than 1 in 4 stalking victims reported some form of cyberstalking was used, such as e-mail (83%) or instant messaging (35%). Id. at
In Ms. Magazine’s Blog, Shawna Kenney wrote a very informative post entitled, When Domestic Violence Enters Cyberspace. In the post Shawna aptly states that,”… technology adds a new element of fear to an abused person’s psyche. Haters spew malicious comments beneath YouTube videos, hiding behind screens and usernames; some make thinly-veiled death threats from the perceived safety of their blogs.” To read her compelling blog post, visit Ms. Magazine’s website at http://www.msmagazine.com.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
Like domestic violence, teen dating violence is a pattern of controlling, and abusive behaviors of one person over another within a romantic relationship. It can include verbal, emotional, physical, sexual, and financial abuse. It can occur in both heterosexual and homosexual relationships. It knows no boundaries and crosses race, socio-economic status, culture, and religion. can happen to anyone.
Annually, 1 out of 11 adolescents reports being a victim of physical dating abuse (CDC 2006). Many of these cases of teen dating violence could have been prevented by helping adolescents to develop skills for healthy relationships with others (Foshee et al. 2005).
Like adults, teenagers can choose better relationships when they learn to identify the early warning signs of an abusive relationship, understand that they have choices, and believe they are valuable people who deserve to be treated with dignity and respect.
Photo credit: Microsoft Clip Art
There are many commonly held myths on the phenomenon of domestic violence. This blog post seeks to disabuse the reader of commonly held myths about domestic violence. These domestic violence myths include but are not limited to the following:
MYTH: Domestic violence is a private family matter between a husband and a wife. Here are the facts:
- Domestic violence is a crime against society.
- About 1 in 3 American women have been physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives. (Commonwealth Fund, Health Concerns Across a Woman’s Lifespan: the Commonwealth Fund 1998 Survey of Women’s Health, 1999)
- In 1996, 30% of all female murder victims were killed by their husbands or boyfriends. (Federal Bureau of Investigation, 1997)
- 40% to 60% of men who abuse women also abuse children. (American Psychological Association, Violence and the Family, 1996)
MYTH: Women and men engage in domestic violence at approximately the same rate. Here are the facts:
According to the U.S. Department of Justice, between 1998 and 2002:
- 84% of spouse abuse victims were females, and 86% of victims of dating partner abuse at were female.
- Males were 83% of spouse murderers and 75% of dating partner murderers.
- 50% of offenders in state prison for spousal abuse had killed their victims. Wives were more likely than husbands to be killed by their spouses: wives were about half of all spouses in the population in 2002, but 81% of all persons killed by their spouse. (Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))
Domestic violence only happens to poor women and women of color.
- Domestic violence happens in all kinds of families and relationships. Persons of any socio-economic status, culture, religion, sexual orientation, marital status, age, and sex can be victims or perpetrators of domestic violence.
MYTH: Some people deserve to be hit. Here are the facts:
- No one deserves to be abused. The only person responsible for the abusive behavior is the abuser.
- Physical violence is against the law.
MYTH: Alcohol, drug abuse, stress, and mental illness cause domestic violence. Here are the facts:
- Domestic violence is a learned behavior.
- Abusers choose to abuse his/her partner.
- Alcohol use, drug use, and stress do not cause domestic violence. The afore-referenced conditions might exist in a relationship where domestic violence is present, but they do not cause the violence. Abusers seek to find excuses for their violence.
- Domestic violence is rarely caused by mental illness, but it is often used as an excuse for domestic violence.
MYTH: If the relationship is abusive, she would just leave. Here are the facts:
- There are many reasons why women may not leave. Not leaving does not indicate that the relationship is healthy.
- Research has taught us that leaving can be very dangerous for victims of domestic violence. Actually, in some cases, the most dangerous time for a woman who is being abused is when she tries to leave.
Domestic violence is not a problem in my community.
- Research indicates that women worldwide experience domestic violence.
For information on domestic violence, visit the National Domestic Violence Hotline website www.thehotline.org or call 800-787-3224.
Source(s): Matthew R. Durose et al., U.S. Dep’t of Just., NCJ 207846, Bureau of Justice Statistics, Family Violence Statistics: Including Statistics on Strangers and Acquaintances, at 31-32 (2005))