March 27, 2019
ACTION ALERT: VAWA will be on the House floor first week of April!
It’s not too late to counter attacks against and to improve VAWA!
Use our NEW toolkit to pressure Congress to do the right thing!
Vote for H.R.1585, the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019!
Add your organization’s name to our sign-on letter in support of H.R.1585!
Please forward widely!
The House of Representatives is slated to vote next week on H.R.1585, the bipartisan Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2019, introduced by Representatives Karen Bass (D-CA-37) and Brian Fitzpatrick (R-PA-01). H.R.1585 is a modest reauthorization bill that includes narrowly focused enhancements to address gaps identified by victims and survivors of domestic and sexual violence and the people who work on the ground with them every day.
Please sign our ORGANIZATIONAL LETTER OF SUPPORT by Wednesday, April 3 to show Congress that organizations around the country care about this issue and support H.R.1585.
Then, use this NEW TOOLKIT to contact your Representative by phone, by email, or on social media. And don’t forget to write a letter to the editor or an op-ed! The toolkit contains scripts, talking points, a list of key enhancements, Tweets, Facebook posts, graphics, and letter-to-the editor and op-ed templates.
Also, in case you missed it, you can listen to a recording of last Thursday’s VAWA call explaining the contents of H.R.1585 HERE.
When H.R.1585 went through the House Judiciary Committee, several Representatives tried to roll back vital VAWA protections by:
- Allowing non-Natives to prey on Native women on Tribal lands with impunity;
- Allowing publicly-funded domestic violence shelters and rape crisis centers to discriminate against survivors who they don’t like and turn away vulnerable victims in need of protection and help; and
- Taking money away from communities and giving it to organizations like the NRA to teach people how to use guns.
Instead of committing to improve VAWA to address the identified needs of victims and survivors through moderate enhancements, other lawmakers introduced a year-long ‘straight reauthorization of VAWA (with no improvements) that ignores the identified needs of survivors. Lawmakers need to take a principled stand and fight for improved access to and justice for victims and survivors. In the era of #MeToo, we have the opportunity to make meaningful positive change to protect and support all survivors – anything less is unacceptable.
These members should especially be asked to be co-sponsors and encouraged to vote for the “real” VAWA, H.R. 1585, and not harmful or weakening amendments or attempts to delay passage with an unnecessary “straight reauthorization” extension. Find their contact informationhere. Ask to talk to the staff person who handles VAWA and/or women’s issues. Make a note of this person’s name and contact info and follow up with them. Develop a working relationship with them if possible. Thanks. Pat
Cindy Axne (Iowa)
Anthony Brindisi (N.Y.)
Jim Costa (Calif.)
Angie Craig (Minn.)
Charlie Crist (Fla.)
Joe Cunningham (S.C.)
Antonio Delgado (N.Y.)
Abby Finkenauer (Iowa)
Jared Golden (Maine)
Josh Gotteimer (N.J.)
Kendra Horn (Okla.)
Andy Kim (N.J.)
Conor Lamb (Pa.)
Susie Lee (Nev.)
Elaine Luria (Va.)
Ben McAdams (Utah)
Stephanie Murphy (Fla.)
Tom O’Halleran (Ariz.)
Collin Peterson (Minn.)
Max Rose (N.Y.)
Kurt Schrader (Ore.)
Mikie Sherrill (N.J.)
Elissa Slotkin (Mich.)
Abigail Spanberger (Va.)
Xochitl Torres Small (N.M.)
Jeff Van Drew (N.J.).
Jaime Herrera Beutler (R-Wash.)
John Katko (R-N.Y.)
Tom Reed (R-N.Y.)
Larry Bucshon (R-Ind.)
Michael R. Turner (R-Ohio)
Fred Upton (R-Mich.)
Rodney Davis (R-Ill.)
David Joyce (R-Ohio)
David McKinley (W.V.)
Dan Newhouse (R-Wash.)
Elise Stefanik (R-N.Y.)
Peter T. King (R-N.Y.)
Brian Fitzpatrick (R-Penn.)
Mario Diaz-Balart (R-Fla.)
Steve Stivers (R-Ohio)
John Curtis (R-Utah)
Mike Bost (R-Ill.)
Bill Johnson (R-Ohio)
Jennifer Gonzalez Colon (R-P.R.)
Bob Gibbs (R-Ohio)
Susan Brooks (R-Ind.)
Ken Calvert (R-Calif.)
Adam Kinzinger (R-Ill.)
Greg Walden (R-Ore.)
William Hurd (R-Texas)
Paul Cook (R-CA)
Don Young (R-AK)
WASHINGTON–The news that Brett Kavanaugh allegedly committed sexual assault as a college student confirms what we’ve already known: Brett Kavanaugh is unfit
By MAEVE RESTON
July 17, 2014
It has been nearly a month since the Supreme Court handed down its Hobby Lobby decision, yet the issue has remained at the top of the political news now for weeks — a key facet in the battle for control of the U.S. Senate.
To explain that, look no further than the research by the Voter Participation Center into the voting trends for single women in midterm elections. Though single women make up a growing share of the electorate — nearly 4.2 million became eligible to cast ballots since 2008 — they turn out in far lower numbers in midterm elections than presidential contests.
The battle for female voters in Montana
Related video: Facing attacks in the Montana Senate race on his record on abortion, Republican Steve Daines aired his own female-focused ad touting his support for the Violence Against Women Act.
The dropoff in their share of the electorate between 2008 and 2010 was significant. In 2010, some 22 million fewer unmarried women voted than in 2008, according to a study by the Voter Participation Center and Lake Research Partners; 10 million fewer married women voted.
Facing the very real possibility of losing the Senate, Democratic operatives are doing everything they can to reverse that trend between now and November. That is why voters in Colorado, Montana and Michigan have seen a flurry of ads focused on abortion and contraceptive coverage from the campaigns and outside groups like the Senate Majority PAC, which is focused on maintaining Democrats’ control of the Senate.
Meanwhile, Democratic candidates are trying to keep their Republican opponents on defense about the Hobby Lobby decision, which gave some for-profit corporations the right to claim a religious exemption to the new healthcare law’s requirement of contraception coverage.
In some cases Republicans have aggressively countered the attacks on their records on women’s issues, producing their own female-focused ads.
Montana Sen. John Walsh highlights abortion in campaign ads
Related video: Vulnerable Democratic senators like Montana’s John Walsh have highlighted their opponent’s antiabortion stances to appeal to single women in the 2014 election.
In Colorado, for example, two of Democratic Sen. Mark Udall’s first three ads centered on his opponent’s opposition to abortion and past support for a Colorado initiative that would have changed the state’s constitution to protect a person’s rights from the point of conception. Gardner countered with his own ad explaining why he changed his mind on the Colorado personhood initiative (he was not aware, he said, that the legislation could have restricted women’s access to birth control).
In Montana, U.S. Sen. John Walsh aired an ad featuring an activist who said she was raped at 14 and goes on to slam Walsh’s rival, Republican Steve Daines, for supporting legislation that would define life as beginning at conception. In the same week, Daines aired his own ad in which a female supporter highlighted what she described as a courageous vote for the Violence Against Women Act at a time when others Republicans opposed it.
This week, Democrats kept contraceptive coverage and the Hobby Lobby decision in the news with a vote on a Udall bill that would restore the legal guarantee that women could get contraceptive coverage through their employer-based insurance plans, regardless of the Hobby Lobby decision. Democrats did not have enough votes to overcome a filibuster and allow consideration of the bill this week. But many of the vulnerable Democrats who co-sponsored the bill with Udall dispatched press releases decrying the vote.
Expect more parliamentary maneuvers along those lines this fall to keep the issue alive through November.
Though polls are fluid, Democrats are already showing a strong advantage among women in some key states at this point in the cycle. A new NBC/Marist poll this week shows that Udall is leading Gardner by 12 points among women. In Michigan, Rep. Gary Peters is maintaining a 13-point lead among women over his female opponent, Republican Terri Lynn Land. In New Hampshire, Democratic Sen. Jeanne Shaheen continues to hold a strong lead among women over her Republican rival, former Massachusetts Sen. Scott Brown.
Meanwhile, the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is spending $60 million on their Bannock Street Project, aimed at raising turnout among women, Latino and African American voters to what might be seen in a presidential election year.
Though the polls look good for Democrats among women, they are still facing huge hurdles in contested states across the country. The question is whether they will be able to get enough women to the polls this fall to maintain their Senate majority.
Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
Native American Women Finally Gain More Protection From Rape and Abuse Thanks to VAWA | Care2 Causes
Written by Tara Culp-Ressler
Thanks to the latest reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), the U.S. government is beginning to take steps to strengthen protections for victims of domestic violence within American Indian tribes. On Thursday, the Justice Department announced that three tribes will participate in a pilot program that will allow them to prosecute non-Native men for abuse against Native American women, an initiative that will eventually be expanded to additional tribes.
There are 566 federally-recognized Native American tribes across the country. But since a 1978 Supreme Court ruling prohibits tribes from exercising criminal jurisdiction over outside defendants, they’ve been hampered from going after perpetrators of domestic assault. Even if a woman called the tribe’s police chief to report an incident of domestic abuse, there was nothing law enforcement could do if the aggressor wasn’t a member of the tribe.
“Can you imagine responding to call where there is clear evidence of a crime committed by an individual and you cannot arrest them? I think the community felt cheated,” Michael Valenzuela, the police chief of the Pascua Yaqui Tribe, told the LA Times. “It made police officers and victim advocates feel powerless.”
Under VAWA, that’s about to change. The Pascua Yaqui Tribe of Arizona, the Tulalip Tribes of Washington, and the Umatilla Tribes of Oregon will be able to expand their justice systems to crack down on domestic abusers.
“These critical pilot projects will facilitate the first tribal prosecutions of non-Indian perpetrators in recent times,” Attorney General Eric Holder explained in a statement. “This represents a significant victory for public safety and the rule of law, and a momentous step forward for tribal sovereignty and self-determination.”
Sexual crimes are a huge problem on Native American reservations, where nearly 40 percent of women report they have experienced some type of domestic violence. And an estimated 80 percent of Native American rape survivors say they were assaulted by non-Indian men, since the current legal system essentially empowers serial rapists who know they can get away with it.
Nonetheless, the expanded protections for Native American women were a sticking point in the fight to renew VAWA last year. Republicans resisted approving the latest version of legislation because of its provisions relating to LGBT, immigrant, and Native American women — and even after brokering compromises for the first two groups, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) dug in his heels against giving tribes more authority to go after rapists. It took a year of partisan infighting to finally approve the current version of the landmark legislation.
Other tribes will have the option of participating in the new pilot program, too. Their requests to opt in will be approved by Associate Attorney General Tony West, who congratulated Native American leaders on a historic step forward.
“The old jurisdictional scheme failed to adequately protect the public — particularly Native women — with too many crimes going unprosecuted and unpunished amidst escalating violence in Indian Country,” West noted. “Our actions today mark a historic turning point.”
This post was originally published in ThinkProgress
A study released by a Tennessee group this week determined that the cost of violence against women in the state “likely exceeds $1 billion.”
In its “Economic Impact of Violence Against Women” report, the Tennessee Economic Council on Women found that “Tennesseans spent or lost at least $886,171,950 as a result of domestic violence, human sex trafficking, and sexual assault.”
The group said that most of that money was spent in tax dollars and health care costs, but lost wages, charity, workplace expenses and other inefficiencies were also included.
But the group said that the toll went beyond the costs of rape kits, broken bones and funerals.
“More shocking than this annual cost to the community—which likely exceeds $1 billion, in truth—is the comprehensive and devastating impact that these crimes have on women and girls in Tennessee,” the reported noted. “Estimated to target women in 70 to 80 percent of cases, and measuring in excess of 82,000 incidents annually in this state, domestic and sexual violence foster dependency and isolation; they derail careers, educations, and personal development; and their effects create a global cost to the community by dealing significant immediate damage and immense lasting trauma to one in three women in their lifetime. ”
In 2010, Tennessee ranked third in women who were killed by men.
While Republican Gov. Bill Haslam has pushed for stricter punishments for repeat domestic violence offenders, Republicans’ overall record on protecting women in Tennessee is mixed.
“Here in Tennessee, we must hold accountable those who refuse to stand up for the rights of women,” the Tennessee Democratic Party said in a statement marking the anniversary of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in September. “From Tennessee, U.S. Reps. DesJarlais, Roe, Duncan, Fleischmann, Black, Blackburn, Fincher all voted against VAWA and Gov. Haslam and the extreme GOP legislature continue to deny women and mothers access to affordable health care.”
“The fact is that there are still too many women who suffer from domestic abuse and we must recommit ourselves to working towards a solution. As Democrats, we will continue to work tirelessly to prevent violence against all Americans.”
September 13, 2013 by Michele Kort
Signed into law by President Bill Clinton on September 13, 1994—after five years of hearings—the Violence Against Women Act—VAWA—marks the last year of its teens today. Drafted by former Sen. (now Vice President) Joe Biden’s office and approved with bipartisan support, it was designed to give better protection and recourse to women experiencing domestic violence and sexual assault.
Reauthorized by Congress in 2000 and 2005—and along the way adding male victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking to those covered by the programs it supports—VAWA faced opposition from recalcitrant conservative Republicans in 2012. Finally reauthorized this year, the latest version expanded federal protections to the LGBT community, Native Americans and immigrants.
At a party last night in his Washington, D.C., home, Vice President Biden complained about the struggle for reauthorization: “Did you ever think we’d be fighting over, you know, 17, 18 years later to reauthorize this?” He then blamed “this sort of Neanderthal crowd” [i.e., ultraconservative Republicans] in the House for its opposition.
Since 1994, the annual incidence of domestic violence has dropped 64 percent, according to the White House. But there’s still plenty of work ahead to reduce violence and maintain federal and state funding for anti-violence programs. So as we celebrate another year of this important law, let’s light candles but hold the confetti. As Lynn Rosenthal, the White House advisor on violence against women posted today on the White House Blog,
as we reflect on 19 years of progress, we look forward to the day when VAWA is no longer needed. That will be cause for a true celebration.