VAWA Passes – At Last!

The House of Representatives and the Senate have finally agreed to send a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act to President Obama’s desk.

On Thursday, by a vote of 286 to 138, the House passed the bipartisan Senate-approved version of the bill — one that includes added protections for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.

 

Louise Erdrich Opinion Piece in New York Times – Rape on the Reservation and VAWA

New York Times article – Native Americans and the Violence Against Women Act: Rape on the Reservation, by Louise Erdrich, an American author of novels, poetry, and children’s books featuring Native American characters and settings.

What seems like dry legislation can leave Native women at the mercy of their predators or provide a slim margin of hope for justice. As a Cheyenne proverb goes, a nation is not conquered until the hearts of its women are on the ground.

If our hearts are on the ground, our country has failed us all. If we are safe, our country is safer.

Read the article

http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/27/opinion/native-americans-and-the-violence-against-women-act.html

Perspectives on the Violence Against Women Act and Policy Implications

For more perspectives on the Violence Against Women Act, the policies it encourages and how it impacts victims see this article in Time Magazine.

What’s Wrong With the Violence Against Women Act – Time Magazine
http://nation.time.com/2013/02/27/whats-wrong-with-the-violence-against-women-act/

The article discusses how mandatory arrest policies have impacted reporting of domestic violence and whether this helps reduce domestic violence, increases risk, and impacts some communities differently than others, as well as presenting opinions that less funding should be spent on law enforcement, and more on programs that provide safety and other options to victims aside from pressing criminal charges.

 

Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act should be a priority for Congress

Excellent coverage on domestic violence and the Violence Against Women Act. Sunday, February 23, 2013 article in the Denver Post by Lisa Wirthman.

In Colorado, one in four women — and one in 17 men — are sexually assaulted in their lifetimes, according to the Colorado Coalition Against Sexual Assault (CCASA). Domestic violence is equally prevalent here : Nearly half of all murders in Colorado are committed by an intimate partner.

If those numbers seem surprisingly high, consider that violence against women is largely a silent epidemic: For example, 54 percent of rapes go unreported, according to the Rape, Abuse and Incest National Network (RAINN). It’s because of that silence that we need a strong and unwavering national voice to speak up for victims who are unable to speak out for themselves.

And yet, for the first time in 18 years, Congress let the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) expire in 2012. Although the Senate reauthorized VAWA last week in a bipartisan 78-22 vote, it still faces obstacles from House Republicans. Among the objections to reauthorization are new provisions to strengthen services for other marginalized populations, including immigrant, Native American, and LGBT victims of violent crimes.

VAWA helps fund services to aid victims of crimes like sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking, and to hold offenders accountable. The act is primarily about safety, not just for victims, but for entire communities as well.

Read the article

Presidential Proclamation — National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month, 2012

NATIONAL TEEN DATING VIOLENCE AWARENESS AND PREVENTION MONTH, 2012

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BY THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

A PROCLAMATION

     In America, an alarming number of young people experience physical, sexual, or emotional abuse as part of a controlling or violent dating relationship.  The consequences of dating violence — spanning impaired development to physical harm — pose a threat to the health and well-being of teens across our Nation, and it is essential we come together to break the cycle of violence that burdens too many of our sons and daughters.  This month, we recommit to providing critical support and services for victims of dating violence and empowering teens with the tools to cultivate healthy, respectful relationships.

Though we have made substantial progress in the fight to reduce violence against women, dating violence remains a reality for millions of young people.  In a 12 month period, one in 10 high school students nationwide reported they were physically hurt on purpose by their boyfriend or girlfriend, and still more experienced verbal or emotional abuse like shaming, bullying, or threats.  Depression, substance abuse, and health complications are among the long-term impacts that may follow in the wake of an abusive relationship.  Tragically, dating violence can also lead to other forms of violence, including sexual assault.  These outcomes are unacceptable, and we must do more to prevent dating violence and ensure the health and safety of our Nation’s youth.

The path toward a future free of dating violence begins with awareness.  As part of my Administration’s ongoing commitment to engaging individuals and communities in this important work, Vice President Joe Biden launched the 1is2many initiative last September.  In concert with awareness programs occurring across Federal agencies, the initiative calls on young men and women to take action against dating violence and sexual assault and help advance public understanding of the realities of abuse.  The National Dating Abuse Helpline offers information and support to individuals struggling with unhealthy relationships.  For immediate and confidential advice and referrals, I encourage concerned teens and their loved ones to contact the Helpline at 1-866-331-9474, text “loveis” to 77054, or visit: www.LoveIsRespect.org.  Additional resources are available at: www.CDC.gov/features/datingviolence.

My Administration continues to promote new and proven strategies to target teen dating violence.  Last November, we announced the winners of the Apps Against Abuse technology challenge, concluding a national competition to develop innovative new tools that will empower young Americans and help prevent dating violence and sexual assault.  As we move forward, we will continue to collaborate with both public and private partners to bring new violence prevention strategies to individuals and communities across our Nation.  To learn more, visit: www.WhiteHouse.gov/1is2many.

Reducing violence against teens and young adults is an important task for all of us.  This month, we renew our commitment to breaking the silence about dating abuse and fostering a culture of respect in our neighborhoods, our schools, and our homes.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, BARACK OBAMA, President of the United States of America, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the laws of the United States, do hereby proclaim February 2012 as National Teen Dating Violence Awareness and Prevention Month.  I call upon all Americans to support efforts in their communities and schools, and in their own families, to empower young people to develop healthy relationships throughout their lives and to engage in activities that prevent and respond to teen dating violence.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this thirty-first day of January, in the year of our Lord two thousand twelve, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and thirty-sixth.

BARACK OBAMA