When Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault are “Family Values”

Taking a stand against domestic violence is a start.  Trying to get the idiots (on the Right)  in Congress to renew the Violence Against Women Act is like pulling teeth.  And they claim there’s no war against women coming from their camp…

The People’s View

Domestic violence and sexual assault. The original and literal war on women. And now, the Republicans in Congress are refusing to re-authorize the assistance for abuse victims. Yesterday, Vice President Biden gave a sobering speech on the importance of the Violence Against Women Act, genuinely stunned that the GOP has gone down the road this far. Joe Biden is not a Johnny come lately to this fight. He is the original author of the VAWA. He is the original author of the law.

Republicans are blocking it in the Senate right now, and even if the Democrats can muster enough votes to overcome a filibuster, the Republican House is not so keen on bothering to stop domestic violence. Why? There are stuff in there that are not “consensus items”, argue Republicans.

 Iowa Senator Charles Grassley (R), who leads opposition to the law’s renewal, said, “I wish we could proceed in a consensus fashion again. But there are provisions in the bill before us that have never been part of VAWA before. They’re not consensus items.

Well, what are these non-consensus items that’s forcing the Republicans hands to put at risk resources to fight sexual assault, dating violence, domestic violence and physical abuse? What is the big poison pill? Not to spoil the surprise, but it’s teh gays, teh “illegals” and teh Indians.

If you ask why the Republicans are holding it up – other than their fierce hatred for anything the administration is for – they have an interesting answer: it’s because this version of VAWA includes protection for people who they do not believe deserve equal protection of the laws: LGBT people, undocumented immigrants, and native Americans. Because, you know, gay people don’t experience domestic violence (or maybe if we do), sexual battery against women is fine so long as the woman doesn’t have papers, and native American reservations don’t deserve any federal funds for housing and protecting victims of sexual assault because… well, just because.

Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-CA) has put together the most succinct statement rebutting the Republican disgraceful opposition to the bill.

 “Whether you are gay or straight, whether you are Caucasian or Native American, whoever you are–you should have access to services that protect you from domestic violence. It is very important for millions of American women all across the country.

“I ask those who are threatening to block this bill: If the victim is in a same-sex relationship, is the violence and danger any less real?

“If a family comes to this country and the husband beats his wife to a bloody pulp, do we say, ‘Well, you’re illegal, I’m sorry, you don’t deserve any protection?’

That is exactly what the Republicans are saying. If you’re gay, or transgender, then you deserve to be beaten up at home, and suffer sexual and physical assaults at the hands of a partner in the dark corner of social stigma and a lack of resources. If you are undocumented and your husband or boyfriend is assaulting you, you should have no place to go. If you’re a native American, you’re just shit outta luck.

There is another overarching, despicable umbrella point to conservative opposition of the Violence Against Women Act, and it is the conservative support for violence against women.

 Southern Baptist ethicist Richard Land and two dozen other conservative leaders urged the Judiciary Committee to reject the bill, claiming VAWA would harm the family while maintaining programs that are ineffective. They acknowledged the “very real problem of violence against women and children,” but countered with VAWA “encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.” The letter also indicated the latest version of VAWA would add expensive programs, including one that would have the effect of re-educating “school children into domestic violence ideology.”

That’s nice. VAWA “encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.” Does it ever occur to these morons that the building blocks of a family – love, faith, trust, care, and respect - are decimated the moment domestic violence is perpetrated? The demise of the family does not come from interventions to assist the victims of domestic violence; it comes from the perpetration of domestic violence itself. A family where domestic violence is the norm is already demised.

But, when ending domestic violence means breaking up family – after all, the battered wife may have to get a divorce from her husband who might one day kill her – I suppose it’s nice to know that the conservative movement would rather see continued battery of the abused instead. After all, how dare you suggest women (or men) be able to escape from a “family” that gives them a black eye once every night?

It says something about conservative family values. When the social pressure to keep a dysfunctional unit nonetheless intact takes precedence over the protection of the abused, that is what a conservative family values society looks like. Good to know.

Nah, there’s no Republican war on women. Why do you ask?

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