Council Supports Violence Against Women Act, GOP Opposes

By Tara MacIsaac
Epoch Times Staff
Created: February 27, 2012 Last Updated: February 28, 2012
Related articles: United States » New York City
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Times Square shines a purple hue in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2011. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

Times Square shines a purple hue in honor of Domestic Violence Awareness Month in October 2011. (Amal Chen/The Epoch Times)

NEW YORK—As Republicans in Congress oppose the Violence of Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, City Council calls on Congress to push it through.

VAWA would earmark about $330 million for various programs to combat violence against women.

“Though the incidence of domestic violence assaults and murders has steadily decreased, there is an increase in demand for services due to improved criminal justice response, heightened public awareness, and an increase in victims’ willingness to come forward,” states a Senate committee report.

The report shows that one in four American women will experience violence in their lifetimes, and domestic violence impacts 15.5 million children annually.

City Council signed a resolution on Monday calling on the Senate to reauthorize the act, which passed through the Senate Judiciary Committee on Feb. 2 and awaits full Senate approval. VAWA has bipartisan sponsorship, but eight Republicans on the committee voted against it.

Republicans hesitate to reauthorize the act because it includes amendments to allow victims of violence to apply for legal immigration status independent of their spouses, and to protect homosexual and transgender applicants from being refused aid. VAWA was first enacted in 1994, reauthorized in 2000 and 2005 and expired in 2011.

VAWA Spending

Leigh Goodmark, associate professor of law and director of clinical education at the School of Law at the University of Baltimore, criticized the amount the act allocates to the criminal justice system.

“There is scant social science evidence that the influx of money into the criminal justice system has resulted in decreased rates of domestic violence; in fact, the greatest beneficiaries of VAWA funding may be abusive men, who are less likely to be killed by partners who now have other options for addressing the abuse,” writes Goodmark on a blog titled Feminist Law Professors.

If the act is passed, notes Goodmark, $292 million will funnel through the criminal justice system, and only $40 million will go toward housing for abused women and their children.

Goodmark, a Yale University and Stanford Law School graduate, wrote a book titled, “A Troubled Marriage: Domestic Violence and the Legal System,” published in December 2011.

She suggests using the money to prevent unemployment and poverty among women, which correlate to abuse. She does, however, maintain that VAWA is crucial to ending violence against women.

In New York, more than 100 programs are coordinated by the New York State Coalition Against Domestic Violence, funded by VAWA. The law also pervades local legislation. For example, VAWA protects New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) residents from being evicted or denied housing assistance based on acts of violence committed against them.

A Broader Scope

On an international level, women’s advocacy groups such as Women Thrive Worldwide, urge Congress to pass the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA).

The 110th and 111th Congresses introduced, but failed to pass, the act before their terms were up. A report issued by the Congressional Research Service for the 112th Congress in July 2011 addresses the problems in passing such legislation.

The nation does not have a comprehensive plan for combating violence against women abroad, though measures are built into some foreign policy initiatives. This means there is little coordination between agencies and the information has not been compiled to paint the bigger picture. The report makes an initial attempt to bring some of it together.

Varying opinions on the most effective course for combating violence against women poses a problem in legislating action, states the report. Funding is also difficult to secure without proof of success and program evaluations are rare due to the brevity and already limited funding of the programs.

Women Thrive Worldwide urges Congress to “incorporate solutions into all U.S. foreign assistance programs—such as promoting women’s economic opportunity, addressing violence against girls in school, reforming the judicial response to violence against women, preventing transmission and deaths from HIV/AIDS, and working to change public attitudes.”


  • bob

    How can anyone support VAWA ? Either they don’t understand how ineffective (and criminal) it is or they are immoral themselves. Please read below one abused woman’s opinion (which mirrors my own) concerning VAWA.
    By Wendy McElroy

    The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) that is up for renewal
    epitomizes a ruinous trend. Tax-funded ideologues produce highly biased
    studies and conclusions; bills based on skewed data become law; then the
    lies are forced into the framework of society and into people’s lives.

    VAWA has lied successfully for 17 years because it combines
    semi-truths with full-blown intimidation. Its basic semi-truth is that
    domestic violence hurts women. The actual truth is that women and men
    become victims of domestic violence at roughly the same rate. But
    politically-correct feminism must dismiss the massive evidence of men’s
    equal victimization because the reality does not fit their rigid
    worldview of men as perpetrators, women as casualties. Instead PC
    feminists respond by manufacturing a loud hysteria around women and
    violence, for example by expanding the definition of rape to include
    drunken women who are deemed incapable of consent. Somehow I doubt
    drunken men will also be viewed as rape victims.

    The incessant selling of women as the victims and men as the perps
    serves many purposes. A primary one is intimidation. Those who object to
    the specifics of VAWA are automatically attacked as favoring violence
    toward women. If you object to VAWA’s ‘must arrest’ policy because it
    takes the choice to prosecute away from victims, then you are siding
    with the batterers. If you question the sixty-plus passages of the new
    VAWA that exclude men from services and protection, then you want women
    to be beaten.

    It is difficult to intimidate me on domestic violence. Years ago I
    was beaten so badly by a ‘partner’ that my right eye hemorrhaged in the
    line of vision and I have been legally blind in the eye ever since. On a
    visceral level, I know more about DV than academics with their
    tax-funded research, PC feminists with their self-promoting agendas or
    well-intentioned third parties who genuinely believe VAWA benefits

    The DV attitudes in VAWA were a large part of why it took me so long
    to heal. As long as I bought into suspicion and rage toward all men, I
    could not make sense of my own reality. Only when I realized one man was
    responsible and other men would have come to my aid did I grasp the
    beating as a personal, not a political experience. Then could I form the
    trusting, loving relationship with another man who became my husband.
    The perpetuation of a gender schism and demonization of men only acts to
    harm women who need to heal.

    Lies do not help, lies do not heal, especially when the
    sleight-of-hand is done for profit. The profit from VAWA is not merely
    political but also fiscal. The Department of Justice’s Office on
    Violence Against Women administers the funds allocated to VAWA. The
    budget requested by the Office this year is $454,898,000. The
    bureaucrats who administer the funds receive high salaries and benefits,
    social status and prestige. They have enormous incentive to ignore the
    cries of men victimized by domestic violence and the protest of men who
    would step in to protect women from fists. They have incentive to ignore

    What critics of VAWA have on their side is the truth. And goodwill
    toward all victims of domestic violence, both male and female.

    • Max Vohra

        Even though the law has the word “women” in the title, abused men may
      also apply for relief under VAWA as long as they meet the eligibility


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