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Thread: The Violence Against Women Act

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    Troubles a star vsrenard's Avatar
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    The Violence Against Women Act

    I apologize the the moderators if this topic has been addressed; I did not see such a thread (much to my surprise).

    The House has let the Violence Against women Act (VAWA) expire. According to Wikipedia, "The Act provided $1.6 billion toward investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women, imposed automatic and mandatory restitution on those convicted, and allowed civil redress in cases prosecutors chose to leave unprosecuted."

    Although the Act has been renewed since 1994, and approved by the Senate in a revised form*, the House let the Act expire without a vote.

    * The revisions expanded protections to gay men and lesbians, illegal immigrants, and Native Americans on reservations attacked my non-reservation assailants.


    I am appalled that this last Congress would not even pass a provisional bil lto extend the original protections unti the new Congress meets. Bastards and cowards.
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    Heckuva job, Boehner.

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    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    I find that more upsetting than this fiscal precipice stuff.
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    Banned Opty's Avatar
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    What war on women?

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    Uh...isn't violence against anyone already illegal? What does another law achieve?
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    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Here's the text of the VAWA:
    http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bills/112/hr4970/text

    It largely consists of amendments to preexisting laws, that add specific areas of enhancement and implementation. It's purpose is to add the services and training necessary for dealing with areas of crimes that are mostly committed against women (such as rape and domestic abuse) that have been largely neglected because those crimes are largely committed against women.

    For example,

    ‘(14) To develop and implement training programs for prosecutors and other prosecution-related personnel regarding best practices to ensure offender accountability, victim safety, and victim consultation in cases involving domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
    ‘(15) To develop or strengthen policies, protocols, and training for law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and the judiciary in recognizing, investigating, and prosecuting instances of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
    ‘(16) To develop and promote State, local, or tribal legislation and policies that enhance best practices for responding to the crimes of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking, including the appropriate treatment of victims.
    ‘(17) To develop, implement, or enhance sexual assault nurse examiner programs or sexual assault forensic examiner programs, including the hiring and training of such examiners.
    ‘(18) To develop, implement, or enhance Sexual Assault Response Teams or similar coordinated community responses to sexual assault.
    ‘(19) To develop and strengthen policies, protocols, and training for law enforcement officers and prosecutors regarding the investigation and prosecution of sexual assault cases and the appropriate treatment of victims of sexual assault.

    By analogy, suppose that burglary as a crime had been neglected and considered unimportant but was suddenly considered important. Areas of forensics and detective work (such as figuring out how someone broke in and where they might fence stolen goods) that no one had bothered to figure out would need to be developed and the appropriate police, judicial, and victim assistance people hired and/or trained.
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  8. #8
    I'm still not convinced how the victim being a woman makes any difference.
    A better analogy would seem to be if burglary in bungalows as a crime had been neglected and considered unimportant, but was suddenly considered important.
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    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyB27 View Post
    I'm still not convinced how the victim being a woman makes any difference.
    A better analogy would seem to be if burglary in bungalows as a crime had been neglected and considered unimportant, but was suddenly considered important.
    The point is that there are crimes that were neglected specifically because women were predominantly the victims. Indeed for a long time they were not considered crimes at all. Marital rape and domestic abuse were not deemed crimes until a few decades ago.

    Rape is still a crime for which excuses are sought and which are considered a shame for the victim.

    Suppose to take the analogy above that being burgled was deemed somehow proof that the burglary victim was somehow morally inferior to those who were not burgled. Not only would burglary be neglected by police, the victims would be looked down upon or dismissed. The needed social action to change the attitudes toward burglary on the part of the police, the courts, the juries, and the victims themselves would require an extra effort beyond just the statement:
    This is Illegal.
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




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  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    The point is that there are crimes that were neglected specifically because women were predominantly the victims. Indeed for a long time they were not considered crimes at all. Marital rape and domestic abuse were not deemed crimes until a few decades ago.

    Rape is still a crime for which excuses are sought and which are considered a shame for the victim.

    Suppose to take the analogy above that being burgled was deemed somehow proof that the burglary victim was somehow morally inferior to those who were not burgled. Not only would burglary be neglected by police, the victims would be looked down upon or dismissed. The needed social action to change the attitudes toward burglary on the part of the police, the courts, the juries, and the victims themselves would require an extra effort beyond just the statement:
    This is Illegal.
    Okay, I get the purpose of it now. Not sure that I would agree that legislation is the best way to effect social change though.
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    Psychopompous AW Moderator RichardGarfinkle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimmyB27 View Post
    Okay, I get the purpose of it now. Not sure that I would agree that legislation is the best way to effect social change though.
    It's not overall the best way.
    But the act is largely about the official elements of necessary change:
    1. Training of government officials (police and courts) for dealing with these crimes.
    2. Establishment of necessary facilities such as rape crises centers.

    The social change will come about as attitudes change, but one of the most necessary elements for that social change is for these crimes to be treated as crimes rather than dismissed. That can and should be done officially and legislatively (because the legislation states what the officials should and should not do under these circumstances).
    Sometimes, what people need is to have things asked of them.




    Now on Smashwords

  12. #12
    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    Even if it wasn't the "best" way to effect social change, it meant that women had recourse they didn't have before. It meant that crimes like marital rape were actually recognized as crimes. It meant that beating your wife was a serious offense, rather than a family matter that was technically against the law, but yanno, behind closed doors... and the woman could go to the police and actually get something done about it immediately, if she so chose.

    Some of these changes have now become socially accepted. The norm. Which is great, yes, but there is still work to be done. Victim-blaming and slut-shaming are not dead. Women are still attacked by their spouses and lovers with startling frequency, and all too often feel like even the recourse they had under the VAWA was not enough to protect them. Without it, they're up shit creek.
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    Actually, getting legal protection is a huge step toward affecting social change, because oftentimes without legal reprecussions (and a lawyer willing to help you seek them) a victim of a crime who is also a member of a marginalized population can count on being ignored. You might have noticed that the end of Segregation had to be legally forced (and often backed up with armed guards) before society at large accepted it. The more legal rights and recognitions marginalized populations are able to challenge for (and win), the more society follows along behind. Just the fact that this version of the VAWA was dumped BECAUSE it included greater protections for more marginalized populations should be a pretty glaring indicator to you of how invested our culture currently is in ignoring the rights and ongoing victimization of these populations.
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    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Well, based on Richards post, it appears the law was more about creating programs than actually extending additional rights. Maybe some of those programs are no longer necessary, having been incorporated into standard police/legal practices. Maybe legislators thought it was inadvisable to simply extend a nearly 20-year-old funding law during the current financial crisis. Maybe they believe the law should expire and a new one created based on 21st century realities rather than those of the 1990s.

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    Absinthe O'Malice TerzaRima's Avatar
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    Maybe legislators thought it was inadvisable to simply extend a nearly 20-year-old funding law during the current financial crisis. Maybe they believe the law should expire and a new one created based on 21st century realities rather than those of the 1990s.
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    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    There were amendments "based on the 21st century realities rather than those of the 1990's," and those are largely suspected of being the reason why the VAWA wasn't brought up for a vote.

    Can't go extending protection to indians and gays.
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    From what I've read on non-AW forums, a lot of the behind the scenes bickering involved the rights of tribal police to investigate and prosecute acts of violence against NA women that happened on tribal land, but where the alleged perps were not Native American. Some Republicans feared there would be reverse discrimination against non-natives accused of crimes on tribal land.

    I can partly see their point. I grew up near two reservations. I'm part NA myself, but a different tribe than those, and I look more Anglo. We were taught early to stay within speed limits while driving through reservations, and not to attract attention - because the tribal police in both areas had a reputation for corruption and quota-stops. There were also allegations of sexual abuse.

    OTOH, I also knew of many Anglo and Latino boys who would troll reservation gathering places for NA girls, because they knew they could get away with nearly anything.

    Holding up the VAWA still seems a petty move more political than financial.

  18. #18
    Super Moderator SuperModerator Cranky's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    Well, based on Richards post, it appears the law was more about creating programs than actually extending additional rights. Maybe some of those programs are no longer necessary, having been incorporated into standard police/legal practices. Maybe legislators thought it was inadvisable to simply extend a nearly 20-year-old funding law during the current financial crisis. Maybe they believe the law should expire and a new one created based on 21st century realities rather than those of the 1990s.

    There are many reasons legislators may vote against (or refuse to bring up for renewal) particular legislation even if they support the general intent of it.
    That may very well be the case. But given the general trends of the last Congress, I would not be inclined to think this is the case. At all.

    Quote Originally Posted by TerzaRima View Post
    FINE, Cap'n Bringdown. Everyone was gearing up to take back the night, but nooo.
    Yeah. Frankly, I think this kind of thing (not your comment) is complete bullshit. Funny, but having had a daughter has kind of brought my latent feminist tendencies to the fore. And I'll be damned if my daughter has to refight the fight my mother and her mother's generations have fought already. Screw that noise. And if I have to "take back the night" to do it, then so be it. And I'd rather be pissed and end up not needing to be than to rest on my laurels, so to speak. That sort of thinking, that we didn't "need" laws to protect women, has led to the sort of bullshit legislation we've seen the last little while. ETA: And if they failed to renew this because they didn't want to/see the need to extend what protections already exist to include other marginalized groups, then it's worse still. We're not in a post-anything society yet.
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    Moderation in All Things AW Moderator Roger J Carlson's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Monkey View Post
    There were amendments "based on the 21st century realities rather than those of the 1990's," and those are largely suspected of being the reason why the VAWA wasn't brought up for a vote.
    Sure, but how many older programs should be discontinued? Extending the bill with additional amendments extends all of the programs. By 21st century realities I meant looking at the efficacy of old programs, not just the new.

    Can't go extending protection to indians and gays.
    Why should they be tacked on to a bill with funding provisions for protecting women? Surely Congress is capable of providing domestic violence legislation to gays and protection for Native Americans without adding them to a bill which is specifically designed to protect some other group.
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  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by RichardGarfinkle View Post
    It's not overall the best way.
    But the act is largely about the official elements of necessary change:
    1. Training of government officials (police and courts) for dealing with these crimes.
    2. Establishment of necessary facilities such as rape crises centers.

    The social change will come about as attitudes change, but one of the most necessary elements for that social change is for these crimes to be treated as crimes rather than dismissed. That can and should be done officially and legislatively (because the legislation states what the officials should and should not do under these circumstances).
    Okay, I can see the bit about establishing rape crisis centres, but I'm not still not sure about the rest.
    If an act is already illegal, and people are ignoring the law that makes it illegal, why wouldn't they also ignore the law that makes it even more illegal?
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    volitare nequeo AW Moderator veinglory's Avatar
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    I think the point is that it mandates hotlines, shelters, paid advocates and education programs which would make it almost impossible to ignore.

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    A floopy flolloper K.L. Bennett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    Why should they be tacked on to a bill with funding provisions for protecting women? Surely Congress is capable of providing domestic violence legislation to gays and protection for Native Americans without adding them to a bill which is specifically designed to protect some other group.
    Maybe because they relate to the same forms of violence, and are therefore quite compatible? I think it makes way more sense to include provisions for LGBT and NA populations into an already existing bill, than to waste time, and probably more tax dollars drafting a brand new bill that will be almost exactly the same, anyway.

  23. #23
    On that writing-a-new-story high. Monkey's Avatar
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    Roger,

    What parts of this bill do you think should be discontinued? Or are you just speculating that maybe some parts of it should?

    And why not treat Native American women AS women as regards the Violence Against Women Act?

    Why not include gays who suffer rape or abuse from their lovers, and who are no less vulnerable?
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    you didn't come and help me kuwisdelu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Roger J Carlson View Post
    Why should they be tacked on to a bill with funding provisions for protecting women? Surely Congress is capable of providing domestic violence legislation to gays and protection for Native Americans without adding them to a bill which is specifically designed to protect some other group.
    I don't really care where they tack it as long as they tack it somewhere. Do you really think they let it get discontinued because they planned on drafting shiny new bills? I hope to be pleasantly surprised, but I doubt it. I know some reservations in the Dakotas that could really use this right now.

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    Kreon Prowl AW Moderator regdog's Avatar
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    But House Republicans insisted the bill is too supportive of immigrants, the LGBT community, and Native Americans -- and they'd rather let the law expire than approve a slightly expanded proposal
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    Because those groups don't deserve the protection. And the Republicans can't understand why those voting blocks and women didn't vote for them in the last election
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