Founded in 1974, the Women’s Center was established to:
Dismantle, from a feminist perspective, all forms of oppression, including but not limited to those based on ability, age, class, ethnicity, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Advocate for an equitable environment free from violence and harassment based on gender, race, and sexual orientation.
Create an anti-racist, non-sexist, queer-affirmative space where all people can feel valued and safe.
Facilitate and strengthen connections among people across lines of difference through programming and educational campaigns.
Integrate an appreciation of Women's Gender and Multicultural Studies across the disciplines.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

The Most Preposterous Thing...

Allow me to tell you a short story. In 1994, Congress and America in general decided it was no longer cool to stand idly by while victims of domestic abuse and other violent crimes were silenced (because really, that never has and never will be cool). They passed the Violence Against Women Act, which provided money to support the investigations of violent crimes, ensured mandatory restitution on those convicted, and basically filled in a lot of the holes that had previously made conviction and sentencing difficult. This Act was simply so AWESOME that it has been reauthorized wholeheartedly every year since 1994. Now for the dramatic twist...Chuck Grassley, along with EVERY other Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, voted against the reauthorization of the Act this year. They are not opposed to the VAWA as a whole, but certain provisions that protect minority groups. Over the years, the Violence Against Women Act has been amended to protect a wider range of victims, including folks of the LGBTQ community and more. It also now allows undocumented immigrants who have been victims of violence to have greater access to visas. Grassley and his supporters would abolish the provision that bans discrimination based on gender identity or sexual orientation, the provision that protects undocumented immigrants, as well as the provision that allows Native American tribes to prosecute violent crimes.

Regardless of an individuals status in any one of these respects, violent crimes are inexcusable. All people deserve to be treated with compassion, not scorn, in these situations. These Senators are using this Act to attack the rights of marginalized groups in new ways. Perhaps they believe their actions will go unnoticed, or perhaps they would simply like to strip minorities of rights on all fronts. Either way, the possibility of losing an Act of protection because some Senators refuse to acknowledge that ALL people have equal rights is absurd.

I'd like to note that women are not the only victims of violent crimes. Anyone can be a victim, and all people deserve the same protection.

1 comment:

  1. Let's put politics and emotions aside, and have an honest conversation. VAWA is a deeply flawed law that violates mens fundamental rights, squanders resources through a complete lack of accountability, and does not effectively protect families (men, women and children) from domestic violence.

    The law should NOT be reauthorized in its current form, but reworked to be gender neutral and to provide accountability, so that it can truly help families.

    Some positive changes are outlined in the proposed Partner Violence Reduction Act, which:

    1. Removes provisions that violate the Constitution and restores civil rights to the accused.
    2. Gives first priority to real victims and reduces false allegations by constraining definitions and distinguishing between “alleged” victims and “adjudicated” victims.
    3. Seeks to protect and restore families when the abuse is minor.
    4. Removes harmful mandatory arrest, predominant aggressor, and no-drop prosecution policies, thus helping to restore due process.
    5. Allows legal assistance to be provided both to the alleged victim and alleged offender, thus affirming the Constitutional guarantee of “equal protection of the laws.”
    6. Requires third-party accreditation of domestic violence training, education, and public awareness programs to assure the accuracy and balance of the information presented.
    7. Makes the law gender-inclusive and removes discriminatory policies.
    8. Funds major studies designed to:
    § research the effectiveness of restraining orders
    § replicate and evaluate innovative counseling interventions
    § assess the costs of intimate partner violence
    9. Improves the accountability of domestic violence organizations.
    10. Curbs immigration fraud.