Editor’s Note: A version of this article was posted by the Washington Times. Click here to read it.
This year, the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is once again up for reauthorization, but this newest version of VAWA – loaded up with even more leftist provisions – has hit a snag. First signed into law in 1994 with bipartisan support and reauthorized in 2000 and 2006, the legislation has become both a failure and a boondoggle – lining the pockets of feminist groups, vastly expanding federal, state, and local bureaucracies, and becoming riddled with fraud.
This year there are competing bills in the House (H.R. 4970) and Senate (S. 1925), and in a climate of debt, deficit, and government waste, the legitimate bone of contention is how best to reform the law that has spawned dozens of failed programs. VAWA created a bureaucratic nightmare that targets the wrong women – those claiming nebulous “psychological harm” – instead of actually helping battered women. In addition to not helping the women it is supposed to serve, VAWA has morphed into a rigid, inhumane law enforcement tool that hurts and denigrates men.
Thanks to a national survey of registered voters, introduced on July 17, 2012, by SAVE (Stop Abusive and Violent Environments), a non-profit victim-advocacy organization, it appears the majority of people surveyed agree it is time to reform VAWA. According to the results, domestic violence victims, younger people, Republicans, and women are most likely to support VAWA reform.
Here are the overall results showing the majority favor reform of various aspects of the law:
69.5% support reform to end waste and fraud 65.9% support reform to stop discrimination 63.5% support reform to stop false allegations
For those who are a victim of domestic violence or know someone who is, the support for reform is even higher:
73% support reform to end waste and fraud 68.4% support reform to stop discrimination 68.3% support reform to stop false allegations
The Left has made much of the supposed “War on Women” being waged by Republicans, in part by introducing and passing a VAWA bill in the House instead of accepting the Senate version. However, the women surveyed seem to realize VAWA needs reform, more so than the men surveyed:
73.8% of women support reform to end waste and fraud, compared to 70.6% of men 71% of women support reform to stop discrimination, compared to 66.6% of men 68.3% of women support reform to stop false allegations, compared to 67.8% of men
One of the key differences between the House and Senate bills is that the House bill is gender neutral to protect all Americans from domestic violence, while the Senate bill contains language that aims to protect specific groups, including “gay” and transgender Americans. The House language takes an important step in reforming a law that has created a climate of suspicion against men and a situation in which men are arrested on flimsy excuses, while women have their legal fees paid, enabling them to get a divorce, keep the man out of his house and away from his children, often fired from his job, alienated from his friends and community, and assumed guilty until he is able to somehow prove he is innocent.
Statistics show there is not much difference in the rates of violence between men (6.4%) and women (6.3%). Attorney Robert Franklin listed some enlightening statistics in a recent article that point to the need for the law to cover all victims of domestic violence, because men are victims, too:
35% of victims of severe domestic violence are men, but only 1% of federal funds goes to assist them A study of students at two universities showed that 29% of women and 22% of men admitted to physically assaulting a date A University of New Hampshire study on dating violence in 32 countries showed women were more often the aggressor than men The Liz Claiborne Institute found in its Teen Relationship Abuse Survey that 17% of boys and 13% of girls had been hit, slapped, or pushed by a dating partner A 2009 Centers for Disease Control study showed that when there was reciprocal violence in a domestic relationship, it was women who hit first 70% of the time and then men responded with violence
The original VAWA was based on good intentions, but like most things that originate in Washington, D.C., the result over the years has been to create an enormous bureaucracy that runs amok with fraud, lacks appropriate oversight, contains no means of accountability, and consists of many duplicate programs providing the same assistance to the same groups of people.
President Obama said he would veto H.R. 4970 but supports S. 1925. Unless this law is reformed (and H.R. 4970 takes steps to do so), it will continue to discriminate against men, underserve actual victims of violence, and provide millions of taxpayer dollars to build feminist power structures, instead of ending intimate partner violence.
Dr. Janice Shaw Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America’s Beverly LaHaye Institute, serves on international task forces working to end violence against women, presents testimony before Congressional committees, and writes “white papers” and columns on the issue of violence against women.