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Reasons to Oppose the So-Called Violence Against Women Act

On Monday, the Senate is expected to vote on reauthorizing and expanding the so-called Violence against Women Act (VAWA). This unconstitutional law was originally signed by President Clinton in 1994 and has shown no signs of actually reducing violence against women. The real purpose of the VAWA is to shell out taxpayer dollars to liberal organizations that help elect Democrats—which is why the reauthorization bill passed out of committee on a straight party-line vote.

Original sponsors of the bill assumingly called it the “Violence against Women Act” in order to pressure their colleagues into voting for it. Supporters of the VAWA attempt to politically hurt those opposed to it by painting them as anti-woman or somehow in favor of violence against women. Clearly, domestic violence— whether it is against a woman or man—is tragic and no one in their right mind supports it.

This is the kind of dishonest tactics used by Washington insiders to pass terrible bills. They give pieces of legislation deceptive titles so that they can chastise any reasonable opponents. A case in point being the so-called No Child Left Behind Act, supporters accused all opponents of wanting to leave children behind in the classroom even though the massive bill was fundamentally flawed. 

Like the misnamed No Child Left Behind Act, there are many reasons to oppose the VAWA. First, domestic violence was already prosecuted in every state prior to the passing of the VAWA. Why do we need a federal law for something that was already illegal in all 50 states? Isn't that redundant? 

The VAWA made domestic violence a federal crime but it is not an issue that should be handled by the federal government because it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. Like other wrongdoings such as murder and theft, it is properly handled on the state and local level, in accordance with the 10th amendment. 

The VAWA cost a lot of dough—$660 million, according to Congressional Budget Office estimates— for a duplicative law that has shown no real evidence of reducing domestic violence.

What exactly counts as domestic violence? The newest version of the VAWA, S.47, contains very vague and broad definitions of domestic violence. A man that raises his voice at his partner, calls her an offensive name, stalks her, causes her any emotional distress, or simply just annoys her can potentially be prosecuted under the VAWA. Calling your spouse a mean name is not advised or polite, but it isn’t the same thing as violence towards her.

Violence against anyone is bad —that shouldn’t even need to be said. Unfortunately, the VAWA reinforces ugly stereotypes about men and women. Supporters of the law portray men as natural predators that are never on the other side of domestic violence. However, in a 2010 national survey conducted by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, it was found that 40% of the victims of domestic violence are men and half of all partner violence is mutual. 

Supporters of the VAWA portray women as helpless victims—this is the kind of attitude that is setting women back. Thank goodness that there are many strong and independent women, including the female members of the Independent Women’s Forum, who believe that there are real reasons to oppose the VAWA.

Jessie Canty

You're a policy analyst. You're a policy analyst that things that the VAWA makes domestic violence a federal crime. You suck at analyzing policy.

Lauragail's picture
Laura Van Overschelde

This is a stupid piece of legislation. BEWARE, ALERT! This is in the same vein as loathsome hate speech laws, vague and indeterminate. It is subject to conjecture, opinion of the most radical and/or uninformed! Such law that is not specific and CLEAR becomes a "loophole for the craftiest of lawyers". So what if I stepped on your toes, Mr. Barrister? Get over it!
It is high time for all good conservatives/libertarians to come to the aid of YOUR country before the irrational allow irrational justice or something like that (in their indeterminate, unpredictable opinion!) legislates us from loyalty to common sense.
Instead of teaching our children about such matters as being too sensitive, we should be teaching them that there is a RIGHT and a WRONG way to look at matters, and that includes looking at arguments in ways that makes sense to YOUR knowledge of what is right and wrong.
IF true descriptions of violence against WOMEN could truly be illuminated as SO MUCH WORSE than violence to anyone, I MIGHT could buy into it. We already have laws that speak to that. Whatever is in the mind of the perp is not necessarily going to intensify the result if the crime.
For instance, the left wants to allow women in combat, clearly a place that could result in violence against women and then turn around and say if you commit violence against women in society, it is much worse.
I also see this as another 'nudging' to us toward disbelief in our traditional belief systems. And very harmful to the education of young as yet uninformed minds!

Ron Collins

Denunciation as debate: VAWA programs and legalities avoid scrutiny

Seldom has a national dialogue on a critical bill been so flawed, so misinformed, so dominated by base allegations toward viewing its issues with any objectivity, as the recent display of rubber-stamp democracy attending the re-authorizing of the Violence Against Women Act, and its national complex of grants recipients.

As a governmental system, the topics of oversight, compliance and effect across these thousands of programs are enormous, with case history and court rulings going back nearly two decades. The need for careful analysis of an undertaking this massive is historically obvious, with a view toward understanding the true performance of functioning initiatives across the United States that have had significant impact on the administration and practice of both criminal and civil law throughout the nation.

Instead, the entire narrative is reduced to a presumptuous prerequisite that anyone asking difficult questions about these programs must first intone a disclaimer that, no, scrutinizing a government complex of over 5,000 programs does NOT constitute an endorsement for violence against women. By the time the critic leaves the witness chair, the brand has stuck: War on Women. And what strains credulity is that this is as far, in a nation packed with legal scholars, senior jurists, media analysts, watchdog and whistle-blower organizations, social scientists, policy advisers, as the public dialogue has been able to proceed.

We must stop debating an idea that in itself was never in contention, and start examining the existing reality of a nearly two-decade-old combine of organizations that derive their operational funding through this Act, and ask, not what might this do, but what has this done? What is it doing? What, in its five- and ten-year projections that continued unabated throughout the legal hiatus prior to re-authorization earlier this month, does it intend to do?

What are its intentions toward an entire sector of the population, men, who have been named as quite other than deserving of equal protection under the law?

What capacity does it have to meet continuing court challenges that are imminent, in light of its multiple compromises of Amendments I, II, IV, V, VI, X, XIV, the 1972 Education Amendments Act (Title IX), the doctrines of presumption of innocence, due process, equal protection, full faith and credit, double jeopardy, rules of evidence, juridical, prosecutorial and law enforcement procedures, as a short list…?

And, given the enabling of these government grantees to engage in local politics with full federal anti-lobbying protections, what is its intent for the rest of this Republic?

Whatever it was Congress and mainstream media both were doing while these grownup matters, and their costs, were on the national legislative agenda, their members do not seem to have been asking any of these rudimentary questions. Or, really, any questions at all...

Someone needs to, beginning with State legislatures and high courts, major media, independent analysts, legal faculties; as well as law-enforcement, clinical, public-service and philanthropic organizations, as another short list. And their findings need to be made prominently public.

And, the inside deals and legal plays and PC policies that have already kept a legitimate, well-researched, long-term, widespread dissent against VAWA under a news blackout for all this time, need at long last to be set responsibly aside, as major media outlets begin openly to recognize a large-scale and diverse opposition to this approach to dealing with violent crime, and duly, fairly:

report it.

Jessie Canty

"The VAWA made domestic violence a federal crime but it is not an issue that should be handled by the federal government because it is not specifically mentioned in the Constitution. "

No, it doesn't. Federal crimes are not handled by the states. I'm not going to pretend like I knew this before I googled it. I didn't. But since you were the only person on the whole wide, wide internet to say this, I decided to check. It took me about 30 seconds of half a** googling to figure it out. And I'm not the one writing for Freedomworks.

erika finley

I have a real problem with the violence against women act. I have been victimized by this terrible law. I am a woman who has had her rights denied. Under this vile sexist discriminatory law innocent men are treated as if they are guilty even if they are innocent. I don't have the rights, to not press charges, they assume that you are abused even if that is not the case!! This law enables the government to act as they are pseudo- parent and treat grown women like they are children. I am so tired of these fascist laws that take my rights away. I feel that I have been treated like I am a helpless idiot that doesn't have the sense enough to know what happened. further more I know of a lot more women who will raise their hand and strike the men that they are with than men. In my case My boyfriend, his friend and his friend's G/f were all drinking on the night of this stupid drunken accident. His friend propositioned us while we were all in the spa to swap but neither of us were interested. After I expressed my disgust with his friends behavior to my boyfriend. I went to bed to be woken up to his friend screaming at my boyfriend like a crazy person when I went out to the living room my boyfriend was sitting on the couch and this person was yelling and screaming at him and threatening him
he attacked my boyfriend I decided to go back to bed on the way back to our bedroom I tripped on the wet floors and carpet by the front door and face planted on the tile floor. My boyfriends friend called 911 and told them that he hurt me which was not the case. Since then the have charged my boyfriend with felony Domestic Violence, where an order of protection has been instated regardless of what I said I had to hire a lawyer to try to have it dismissed to only have the victory of having it be amended to a peaceful contact order. The state and these anti-men groups have gone too far! These laws make me feel that my rights to control my life have been taken away from me and that these laws paint a portrait that all women are poor helpless little victims! Well I am sorry but I like many other women am not nor will ever be a victim. The way I have been treated reminds me of the song from no doub: Just a Girl. I am outraged and I have had it!!

Dawn Clarey

As a divorced person from a VERY ABUSIVE marriage, both for me and my son(physical, mental, sexual!!), I think that repubs and dems better put in there that the states need to better train Dept. of Human Services, police depts, and schools. My ex stated n texted that he "f*cked my son, n they both enjoyed it." I gave it to my son's waiver worker, she turned it to dhs investigation and got back, "due to this being a divorce, it's probably just him being mean. We are swamped and do not have time to look further into this." Same with the police. A few months later, I get up for the day, and go to the front porch that store all my stuff, and there were 5 lighter fluid bottles emptied, with a lighter laying in the mess. Warning from him to quit trying to fight him in the divorce. The police took my name and number. Later in the month I go outside to take my son to school, and my car is full of trash!! Taco Bell(his place of employement) garabe all over. Used femine products. Once again, "it's a divorce. just get it done and it'll end. we don't like messing in the matters." was all the cops had to say. I finally went and started seeing a councilor from Council on Sexual Assault and Domestic Violence and she made sure the police were paying attention. In Iowa now, they are taking funds away from places like this. "it's a waste of money". Really, because of the help of CSADV, I got out of a very unsafe place, my son is getting the help he needs(he already suffers from Asperbergers and has more issues than he can deal with) and I am not afraid to sleep anymore. If they could just say, STATES; here is this amount, this goes to training, this to go to the agencies that ACTUALLY help VICTIMS. I hope I didn't ramble, and I used to laugh at such bills. I will never laugh again. When your husband is choking you and you wake up to him laughing and your son laying next you crying because he thinks you're dead, it changes you. When I'd laugh at those women who just wouldn't leave....I am one of them. The aggressor beats you until you can't go on. You don't have control of the money. You hear daily how dumb and ugly you are and you will never make it. (I was working full time, going to school~pulling off 4.0~and no one knew, I felt worthless). You can't leave because when you do, or they get out, they come back with MORE vengence!!!! WE NEED POLICE EDUCATION!! It's not spoken enough about!!

Jay Scovel

Does anyone see the hypocrisy of Obama supporting such an issue when he also supports such organizations as the Muslim Brotherhood? The Muslim Brotherhood wants sharia law to be the law of the world. Under sharia law women have no rights what so ever!