There was outrage this week when House Speaker and Republicans refused to pass a relief bill for a few tens of thousands of legitimately suffering Hurricane Sandy victims. There arose such a cry in the media, from Democrats and Republicans alike, and from New Jersey Governor Chris Christie that the 112th Congress, at their 11th hour passed that desperately critical bill.
A few tens of thousands of Americans. It was that urgent. If they hadn’t acted the bill would have died, likely not to be taken up by the incoming 113th Congress. But this Congress managed to get the job done, amid their busy schedules of lobbyist luncheons, all important Benghazi hearings and FOX News/MSNBC partisan mud-slinging interviews. Another bill died, forgotten in the shadows. The Violence Against Women Act was held up, gutted and then left to die. Luckily the loss of VAWA bill only affected the lives and well-being of roughly 170 million women in this country. There was no similar outrage, and hardly a whisper of acknowledgement for the death of the Violence Against Women Act, or VAWA.
VAWA, credited as being born on the desk of then Delaware Senator Joe Biden in 1994, was actually bred from a history of abuse and brutality against women; the silent civil rights struggle. Signed into effect that same year by Bill Clinton, the bill provided vitally needed resources for abuse victims and began a process of calling attention to the special nature of crimes of violence against women, such as date rape, honor killings, female genital mutilation, human trafficking, sexual slavery, forced abortion, forced prostitution and marital rape, to name a few.
No doubt it was about cost, right? We are, according to the doomsayers, sliding off the cliff into the fiscal abyss. The nation can’t afford the less than 2 billion allotted annually for a project that does little more than save women’s lives. It had to be cut for the sake of the nation. The cost of the sandy relief: 60 billion, to start. It is easy to see the how Congress arrived at their decision.
In fairness, this is not about the Sandy victims, or the 72,000 homes and businesses destroyed by the storm. This is about perspective and priorities. This is about whether we are sincere about improving the lives of women, and about offering support to the 1 in 6 women who will be sexually assaulted or molested in this country. Every 9 seconds a woman in the US is assaulted or beaten, or around 21 in the time it takes to read this article. Domestic violence is the leading cause of injury to women in the US, ahead of car accidents, rape by a stranger or street crime combined. 2/3s of women abused at home do not contact shelters or police for help. In financial terms, the cost of abuse is more than $4 billion in medical costs, and nearly $2 billion in productivity at work. (Source: http://domesticviolencestatistics.org/domestic-violence-statistics/)
Given that, the math should be relatively simple to figure out. I surprised Congress has not figured it out since they are among our best and brightest, at least what they would have us believe.
Sunday on the show we’ll talk about this with Aisha Chaudhri from Apna Ghar http://apnaghar.org/, which “provides holistic services to women and children across immigrant communities in the Chicago area to end the cycle of domestic violence. Apna Ghar empowers women to be self-sufficient by a full spectrum of services from education to emergency and transitional housing to counseling and legal services.”
On the show we’ll have details on becoming involved in reviving VAWA and protecting women. begin by organizing to become the squeakiest wheel you can become. Call and respectfully pester your Representative and Senators at the following, with their phone numbers here:
Or call or email President Obama and tell him how important this is, and that we hold him and his presidential reputation and historical legacy accountable:
202-465-1414 and 202-456-1111.
If you are being abused, or know someone who may be:
The woman,, relative, friend. mother, daughter and wife in life are counting on you.
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