Next on conservatives' list of things to drown in the bathtub of "big government extravagance" is the Violence Against Women Act. Bill Clinton signed VAWA into law in 1994, providing just over $1.5 billion to help investigate and prosecute perpetrators of violence against women, to provide grants for education about domestic violence and to help shelter women from abusers. Congress reauthorized the act in 2000 and 2005.
In 2005, the ACLU characterized VAWA as "one of the most effective pieces of legislation enacted to end domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking. It has dramatically improved the law enforcement response to violence against women and has provided critical services necessary to support women in their struggle to overcome abusive situations."
In 2012, conservative Republicans and Tea Partiers are actively seeking to dismantle the act in the name of "fiscal responsibility." From where we sit, it's just more of the same hyperbolic right-wing nuttiness that heaps favors on those with quite a lot while those who struggle get the raggedy end of the big green congressional stick. Add to that an ever-more-apparent animosity against anything having to do with gender issues, and VAWA is squarely in conservative gun sights.
Never mind that domestic violence is a crime that crosses all economic lines. Let's not mention that violence against women knows no skin color, no age and no religious affiliation. And for heaven's sake, let's not talk about the children who exhibit post-traumatic stress disorders after watching daddy play whoop-ass on mommy's face for a few years.
No. Let's not talk about any of that. Apparently, if you're a conservative, what's more important is that government shrink and private businesses funded by taxpayer dollars grow in direct proportion. If a few million women get caught in the middle, well, too bad—nothing we can do about it.
VAWA saves lives. Laws have put teeth into assault legislation, meaning more violent abusers are getting harsher punishments. Outreach programs are educating women on their rights and resources. Other programs train police and judges to better deal with abusive situations. Batterer-intervention programs are changing entrenched mindsets to break the cycle of violence in families. Even the corporate world now provides employee programs targeting domestic violence.
The world understands that domestic violence is a serious threat to any person in an intimate relationship with someone who wants to control and dominate them. Everyone, it seems, but conservative Republicans.
If you love a woman or have a woman in your life, contact your U.S. senator and congressman and make your voice heard for women's safety.