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Jill has been blogging for Feministe since 2005.
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102 Responses

  1. Anon21
    Anon21 February 11, 2013 at 11:46 am |

    It’s a legitimate concern that indigent defendants in tribal courts aren’t guaranteed counsel. The solution is to attach an amendment to the VAWA reauthorization providing that everyone charged with a crime in tribal courts for which imprisonment is a possible penalty is entitled to the assistance of counsel, and appropriating funds to make indigent defense available to all defendants in tribal courts. Blocking the reauthorization can only be justified by indifference to women’s lives and health.

    1. thefish
      thefish February 11, 2013 at 12:07 pm |

      he solution is to attach an amendment to the VAWA reauthorization providing that everyone charged with a crime in tribal courts for which imprisonment is a possible penalty is entitled to the assistance of counsel

      FTFY. People need council for any criminal charge. Not just ones that attach imprisonment. Taking everything one owns and ever will own and branding them a felon is not something that the government should be able to do without giving them a fair trial.

      1. Anon21
        Anon21 February 11, 2013 at 12:15 pm |

        FTFY. People need council for any criminal charge. Not just ones that attach imprisonment. Taking everything one owns and ever will own and branding them a felon is not something that the government should be able to do without giving them a fair trial.

        I agree, but was tailoring the hypothetical amendment to the constitutional standard, which only requires that criminal defendants in state and federal courts be provided with free counsel if imprisonment is a possible penalty. I think it would be easier to get Congress to support an amendment along those lines, which would place defendants in tribal courts on a equal footing* with defendants in state and federal court so far as access to counsel is concerned.

        *Which unfortunately just means “equally bad” in most States.

      2. suspect class
        suspect class February 11, 2013 at 3:51 pm |

        “branding someone a felon” happens after being tried and convicted of a felony, which always has the possibility of jail time. The question isn’t whether everyone gets jail time upon conviction, the test is whether imprisonment is a possible outcome by law.

    2. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan February 11, 2013 at 5:31 pm |

      Yeah, that seems like a really easy fix. Is it not already the case that defendants in a native court would receive representation? ‘Cause that seems like an obvious hole.

    3. speedbudget
      speedbudget February 12, 2013 at 7:34 am |

      There are written in the bill protections of civil liberties:
      <a href="http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/11/sen-cantwell-rips-gop-over-violence-against-women-act-this-is-about-the-life-or-death-of-women/&quot;
      This is an excuse

      1. Anon21
        Anon21 February 12, 2013 at 11:25 am |

        All that story says is that “The legislation also specifically prohibits tribal courts from violating Americans’ rights.” That’s not specific enough to speak to the issue of whether indigent defendants would be guaranteed counsel. And I’ve heard nothing to indicate that the VAWA reauthorization changes the normal rule that indigent defendants are not guaranteed legal representation in tribal courts.

        I do agree that GOP objects along these lines are taken in bad faith, which is why I’d support an amendment like the one I suggested above, which would remove this fig leaf from GOP opposition while also expanding the rights of indigent defendant in tribal court.

  2. McMike
    McMike February 11, 2013 at 12:21 pm |

    Shouldnt the violence against women act be put in the thrash bin and replaced by the violence against people act?

    1. roro80
      roro80 February 11, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

      No.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong February 11, 2013 at 10:32 pm |

        No.

        Yes, it is.

        The currently language of the law is gender-neutral in most places, but naming it the Violence Against Women Act erases abuse that happens against men, against women by other women, and essentially against everyone not in a heterosexual exclusive traditional monogamous relationship. It absolutely should be renamed something like the Domestic Violence Prevention Act or something.

        How are we even arguing about this?

        1. EG
          EG February 11, 2013 at 10:51 pm |

          against women by other women

          How does it erase violence against women by other women?

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 11, 2013 at 11:55 pm |

          How does it erase violence against women by other women?

          I think the phrase ‘violence against women,’ especially in the context of the original legislation, implies that the violent party is a man. Even if the name doesn’t have the same connotation for you, I don’t think it’s much of a stretch to say we shouldn’t name our DV laws in a way that excludes a significant chunk of victims, right?

          Is this actually controversial? It’s not like I’m saying we shouldn’t reauthorize VAWA until the name is changed, I just think the name is pretty clearly problematic since it erases so many survivors who the law actually covers.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 12:01 am |

          I think the phrase ‘violence against women,’ especially in the context of the original legislation, implies that the violent party is a man.

          I…really don’t get that meaning from it at all. Violence against women could be by anybody of any gender.

          I agree with you that it erases men in the title, but… you know… I just don’t care. If the law actually excluded male victims I’d be up in arms, I assure you, but quibbling over a title is just silly IMO.

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 12:10 am |

          I…really don’t get that meaning from it at all. Violence against women could be by anybody of any gender.

          Sure, I just think that the phrase calls to mind male violence against women in the minds of the typical American. Maybe I’m hopelessly wrong (it’s been known to happen).

          I agree with you that it erases men in the title, but… you know… I just don’t care. If the law actually excluded male victims I’d be up in arms, I assure you, but quibbling over a title is just silly IMO.

          It’s not the hill I’m going to die on, but it’s reasonable to point out the title is inaccurate and I don’t see why doing so got the OP shut down so hard.

          I also think- and this is drawing from personal experience- that one of the ways patriarchy hurts men is by propagating a myth that only women can be victims. Don’t get me wrong- this is a fundamentally misogynistic idea- but it means that men who are abused/raped/sexually assaulted are even less likely to identify their experience as such, much less report it, than women.

          I am emphatically not trying to make an MRA-like claim that sexism is equally bad for everyone, but it is empirically true that a good chunk of abuse survivors are male. So having phrases like ‘VAWA’ floating around just seems to reinforce culture ideas about who is and isn’t ‘abusable,’ which reinforces that culture of silence, and the belief that there is no help available.

        5. roro80
          roro80 February 12, 2013 at 9:25 am |

          My one-word answer was neither an argument with you nor a “jumping down” anyone’s “throat”. Maybe you haven’t seen a thousand MRA assholes saying this in the last two weeks, but I have. I don’t think the whole thing should go in the garbage bin. I could give two fucks about the name. So, “no”.

      2. McMike
        McMike February 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

        How the law is worded influences the judges greatly when it comes to the application. Many men whom resort to physical violence could instead find recourse in VAWA or VAPA if they experience violence that is not physical by the spouse.

        VAWA covers many forms of violence, not just physical, withholding financial resources, yelling, showing, threats etc. . While men are less likely to experience physical violence by a female partner, or physical violence anyone would consider a threat, they might experience other forms of domestic violence. With the way the title is worded, many judges feel men making recourse to VAWA is preposterous. If the title is changed, maybe more men can make recourse to VAPA, successfully, less man feel cornered in their own home and as a consequence it might help to prevent situations that would have resulted in physical violence on either party.

        Then there are homosexual couples. I feel there is no reason to not rename it the VAPA act and no is no argument.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 8:29 pm |

          Many men whom resort to physical violence could instead find recourse in VAWA or VAPA if they experience violence that is not physical by the spouse.

          Please tell me you aren’t arguing that men become abusers because they themselves are abused.

          Goddammit, this is (one of the many reasons) why I hate MRAs: because men’s ability to find support after being raped or sexual assaulted or abused actually does matter, and you all are so fucking dedicated to indelibly linking those efforts with misogyny and just stupidity in general.

      3. TomSims
        TomSims February 12, 2013 at 6:25 pm |

        I agree. Alara Rogers gave an excellent explanation of VAWA below.

        1. TomSims
          TomSims February 12, 2013 at 6:28 pm |

          My comment was addressed to roro80 who answered No.

    2. Gwen
      Gwen February 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm |

      Isn’t it already about violence against people and only the name refers to women?

      1. TomSims
        TomSims February 11, 2013 at 2:31 pm |

        Isn’t it already about violence against people and only the name refers to women?”

        Yes I agree with your statement, women are people.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 11, 2013 at 10:37 pm |

          Yes I agree with your statement, women are people.

          No, Gwen is right; the language of the law is written in a gender-neutral manner.

          Saying “people who are not cis women in straight relationships experience abuse too” is not the same as “what about teh menz.”

    3. BabyRaptor
      BabyRaptor February 11, 2013 at 10:45 pm |

      No. It shouldn’t.

      1. amblingalong
        amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 12:03 am |

        This is knee jerk ‘feminism’ of the worst kind. Changing the name to make it clear the bill doesn’t only protect a single class of abuse survivors is a pretty obviously good idea, and the fact that this might potentially make life a little easier for some men does not make it an MRA initiative.

        FFS.

        1. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 12:11 am |

          Well, yes…? I see your point? On the other hand, the bill DOES cover everyone, so I don’t see how changing the name would make anything different. I mean, nobody uses “it’s called MANslaughter” to try and justify killing a woman, so why would anyone use “It’s the violence against WOMEN act” to, say, not book someone?

          I see your point, I’d like to see the name changed too, but I just don’t get what there is to rail about so vehemently.

        2. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 12:17 am |

          I’m not railing against the name so much as I’m shocked that when a single poster brought up the idea that the name was inaccurate, a whole bunch of people jumped down their throat. I wasn’t the one to bring it up.

          I mean, nobody uses “it’s called MANslaughter” to try and justify killing a woman, so why would anyone use “It’s the violence against WOMEN act” to, say, not book someone?

          Ok, but the problem isn’t just the behavior of the criminal justice system, it’s cultural. We have this idea that only (certain types of) women can be abused and only (certain types of) men can be abusers. This is a toxic idea for tons of reasons, and it intersects with classism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, etc. etc. One of the very concrete effects is to make people less likely to believe their is a legal remedy for their abuse, or even willing to name their abuse as such, which I think is a problem.

          Obviously changing the name of VAWA wouldn’t magically make all this go away, but it would remove one of the big official endorsements of that idea, which is worthwhile.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 12:37 am |

          Which is all fair enough imo, amblingalong. I’m not sure why the OP got shut down either, but iirc he’s posted one-line MRA bullshit on other threads before this, so people could be reacting to that. (It WAS a bit disproportionate and O_O though.)

          But yeah. After all the “VAWA means men can be abused!!!” crap that got chucked around by the MRAs I’m a bit sensitive. Your points are really good though and I think they’re fair. Like I said, I’d like it if the name were changed. (Though honestly? Saying that black men/NA men are covered for domestic violence or stalking might be the fastest way to get Republicans to die opposing it.)

        4. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 1:17 am |

          I’m not sure why the OP got shut down either, but iirc he’s posted one-line MRA bullshit on other threads before this, so people could be reacting to that.

          Ok. I didn’t realize that, and I could see how this could come off as “calling it VAWA is proof men are the real victims of sexism” given the context. Thanks.

        5. BabyRaptor
          BabyRaptor February 12, 2013 at 3:19 am |

          I didn’t jump down anyone’s throat, nor did I engage in any jerking of the knees. I left a simple reply befitting of the simple question asked, in an attempt to avoid general knee-jerk responses to what was obviously a MRA dude whining because the superior penis owners were left out of something.

          You’re making much ado about nothing. The law is not gender specific. Only the name is. No male is going to get denied help because the title of the law says “Women.” We have bigger fish to fry…The name of a law is inconsequential in the long run.

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 11:46 am |

          No male is going to get denied help because the title of the law says “Women.” We have bigger fish to fry…The name of a law is inconsequential in the long run.

          It’s almost like you’re incapable of scrolling upwards.

          Ok, but the problem isn’t just the behavior of the criminal justice system, it’s cultural. We have this idea that only (certain types of) women can be abused and only (certain types of) men can be abusers. This is a toxic idea for tons of reasons, and it intersects with classism, racism, transphobia, homophobia, misogyny, etc. etc. One of the very concrete effects is to make people less likely to believe their is a legal remedy for their abuse, or even willing to name their abuse as such, which I think is a problem.

          Obviously changing the name of VAWA wouldn’t magically make all this go away, but it would remove one of the big official endorsements of that idea, which is worthwhile.

        7. EG
          EG February 12, 2013 at 12:03 pm |

          From the stats I can find, women make up around 85% of the victims of domestic violence. I really don’t like the idea of using gender-neutral language to erase that fact. I could go for VAW and other victims of DV Act, but I’m not willing to pretend that gender isn’t a meaningful category when it comes to domestic violence.

        8. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 12:19 pm |

          From the stats I can find, women make up around 85% of the victims of domestic violence. I really don’t like the idea of using gender-neutral language to erase that fact. I could go for VAW and other victims of DV Act

          Naming your law in a gender-neutral way doesn’t ‘erase’ anything any more than naming our homicide laws in a race and gender-neutral way ‘erases’ the fact that 49% of murder victims are black men.

          but I’m not willing to pretend that gender isn’t a meaningful category when it comes to domestic violence.

          Nobody is doing this.

        9. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 12:20 pm |

          *despite being 6% of the population

        10. EG
          EG February 12, 2013 at 12:31 pm |

          I don’t think you can have it both ways, amblingalong. If naming it the VAWA act erases the minority of victims who aren’t women, then, yes, a gender-neutral name does indeed erase, or if you prefer, obfuscate the fact that the vast majority of victims of DV are women. It’s not a gender-neutral crime.

          Naming your law in a gender-neutral way doesn’t ‘erase’ anything any more than naming our homicide laws in a race and gender-neutral way ‘erases’ the fact that 49% of murder victims are black men.

          I think it does, actually. I was not aware, for instance, that 49% of murder victims are black men despite them being 6% of the population. And if activists got a law passed specifically to address those massively disproportionate stats, I would have no problem with it having a race- and gender-specific name.

        11. roro80
          roro80 February 12, 2013 at 1:00 pm |

          This is knee jerk ‘feminism’ of the worst kind. Changing the name to make it clear the bill doesn’t only protect a single class of abuse survivors is a pretty obviously good idea, and the fact that this might potentially make life a little easier for some men does not make it an MRA initiative.

          FFS.

          FFS indeed. So giving an MRA troll the one-word answer he deserves is the worst kind of feminism? Not the periodic racism, not the erasure of trans people by large swaths of feminists, not the agency-denial by certain groups. But no. The worst kind of feminism is the one where someone objects to getting the entire piece of legislation (and I quote) “put in the thrash bin” because it has the word “women” in the title? Really? I honestly wouldn’t object to changing the name. Again, I would happily give no more than 2 shits. But it most certainly is an MRA talking point, and an extremely common one, that the name of the bill means it needs to be scrapped and re-written because feminists are evil and think it’s funny when men are raped or beaten by their wives.

        12. Sarah Dalton
          Sarah Dalton February 12, 2013 at 2:53 pm |

          I’m not sure where I stand on the name of the law, but I’m really confused by the folks asking why it matters. Isn’t “terminology is important” a pretty commonly held belief in social justice circles? I’ve read thousands of debates about making terminology more inclusive, and I’m not very familiar with social justice folks saying that it doesn’t matter who’s included in terminology (see, for instances, “Gay rights” rather than “LGBTQ”, a term which is itself still being discussed among me and my friends, and online circles, and thousands of queer people around the world).

        13. Sarah Dalton
          Sarah Dalton February 12, 2013 at 4:25 pm |

          Rephrasing for clarification: using “LGBTQ”, rather than “Gay rights”, not the other way around.

        14. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 5:30 pm |

          FFS indeed. So giving an MRA troll the one-word answer he deserves is the worst kind of feminism? Not the periodic racism, not the erasure of trans people by large swaths of feminists, not the agency-denial by certain groups.

          Please scroll slightly up and read the post you’re ostensibly replying to. I’ll wait.

          …done? Good. As I’m sure you’ve now realized, the post referred to ‘knee-jerk feminism of the worst kind,’ not ‘the worst kind of feminism.’ I’m sure you were just confused because the two phrases sound kind of similar if you swap a whole bunch of words around, right? Glad we cleared that up.

          The worst kind of feminism is the one where someone objects to getting the entire piece of legislation (and I quote) “put in the thrash bin” because it has the word “women” in the title?

          If that’s what the person was objecting to, you’d have a point! I’d even agree with you! Unfortunately you accidentally forgot to read the second half of the sentence, which made it clear the proposal was not to trash the legislation, but change the name to make it gender-inclusive just like the rest of the bill.

        15. roro80
          roro80 February 12, 2013 at 6:33 pm |

          And why don’t I give you a moment to go look at the quite clearly worded first comment of this thread? …done? Good. Ok, now I suppose that by now you’ve realized that the question is not “Shouldn’t we rename this the Violence Against People Act?” but, and I quote, yet a-fucking-gain, “Shouldnt the violence against women act be put in the thrash bin and replaced by the violence against people act?”

          Answer: still “no”. I don’t think the act should be put in the trash bin and replaced by a different act. Still have no problem with renaming it. Never did. But hey, this is super fun, so I do hope you’ll continue to misrepresent what was actually said.

          And sure, there has totally never ever in the history of ever been any “knee-jerk feminism” associated with the feminist rejection of people of color or trans people. You really got me there.

        16. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 8:39 pm |

          And sure, there has totally never ever in the history of ever been any “knee-jerk feminism” associated with the feminist rejection of people of color or trans people. You really got me there.

          The rejection of people of color isn’t about a knee-jerk application of feminist principles, it’s about racism.. The ‘rejection’ of trans* people isn’t about a knee-jerk application of feminist principles, it’s about transphobia. The idea that we shouldn’t acknowledge men can be abused/sexually assault/raped, however, is entirely born of the misapplication of ostensibly feminist ideas.

          ‘Rejection’ is in air quotes because that’s an awfully delicate way of phrasing feminist history with trans* folk.

          Ok, now I suppose that by now you’ve realized that the question is not “Shouldn’t we rename this the Violence Against People Act?” but, and I quote, yet a-fucking-gain, “Shouldnt the violence against women act be put in the thrash bin and replaced by the violence against people act?”

          I have a tough time seeing the difference between changing the name of X, and replacing X with Y, where Y is the same as X in all ways except the name. Maybe I’m just really stupid.

        17. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 8:45 pm |

          Ok, you know what? I’m sorry. This is unnecessary. I don’t actually disagree with you about anything important, I think. This conversation gets to me at a pretty serious level so I’m not always at my best when I have to do it all over again.

          Anyways, strike my above post in its entirety, and I’ll leave it at that.

        18. roro80
          roro80 February 13, 2013 at 11:05 pm |

          ambling — seriously, that’s really cool. I agree. We don’t really disagree on anything important.

    4. Alara Rogers
      Alara Rogers February 12, 2013 at 1:05 am |

      I think there is a reason why it’s the Violence Against Women act.

      80% of all murder victims are male. 90% of all murderers are male. Men are already the violence class. A murdered person defaults to male, as does a murderer. Most murders are male-on-male and very few of them are intimate/domestic — most of the time, if you’re a guy and someone killed you, it was another guy and it was not your family member, lover or best friend.

      The law is set up for that condition. The law assumes that the relationship between murderer and murder victim was adversarial, that at the point where the murderer threatened or displayed violence to the murder victim, the victim would have tried to fight back or escape, that the danger wasn’t long term and ongoing and if you intervened to try to save the murder victim before he was murdered, by getting him out of the situation, this would actually help and he would cooperate and testify against his would-be murderer.

      This is not how domestic violence works. The model in which the danger is in the home, the potential murderer lives with the potential victim, the danger signs are there with violence and abuse but the victim does not leave, either because the victim is bound to the abuser by ties of love and loyalty, or because the victim believes that the abuser will become more dangerous if the victim tries to escape (and it turns out that this is true)… this is a completely different model of violence and our system is very ill-equipped to handle it. And this is the kind of violence women experience, above all other forms of violence. Men experience it too, but for men, it’s about 5-15% of the murders they suffer; for women, it’s 50-60%.

      The Violence Against Men Act, if such a mythical thing existed, would not be an act to protect male victims of domestic violence from their female partners (or even their male partners), because violence against men from strangers, acquaintances and casual friends utterly dwarfs violence against men from intimate partners. The Violence Against Men Act would deal entirely with men being killed because they were involved in crime, or because they were the victim of a crime (aside from being murdered), or because they got in a fight, or because someone felt threatened. It would deal largely with murder by strangers and acquaintances. But we don’t need a Violence Against Men Act, because that type of murder is *exactly* what our entire criminal justice system is already set up to deal with. Every law against murder was originally designed to be a Violence Against Men Act.

      VAWA does not exist to protect people from violence. It exists to protect people from a specific type of violence that the criminal justice system has a very, very hard time dealing with. And the primary victims of this type of violence are women. If you just look at murders, 75% of all people murdered by domestic partners are women… which still means that 25% of the murdered-by-domestic-partners-people are men, and that’s not a small percentage, but it *is* a tiny percentage of all the men that are murdered for any reason, whereas it comprises most of the murders committed against women.

      Rape and domestic violence are seen as crimes generally committed against women for a reason… the reason being, damn near every other crime is disproportionately committed against men, by strangers, who are also male. If a person was killed by a lover, it’s a 3/4 chance that she was a woman. If a person had the shit kicked out of them by a lover, it’s a 6/7 chance that it was a woman. If a person was raped and they were not incarcerated at the time, the odds that they were a woman are extremely high. And if a person was murdered, beaten or raped by someone they knew very well, or someone they lived with, or a very close friend, odds are, they were a woman, because men are much more often victimized by strangers, and our criminal justice code reflects this concept.

      So it’s VAWA because the *type* of violence is the type of violence experienced by women — both the violence that a woman is most likely to experience, and the violence that is most likely to be committed against a woman (those are two different concepts) — and there is a specific act for it not because women are special snowflakes who need extra protection but because the criminal justice, designed by men for men, was never well suited for the kind of violence that VAWA deals with. Women don’t need any more protection than men do from being shot over taking someone’s parking spot, and honestly men need a lot more protection than they’re getting from being shot because they were a minority in the presence of a cop. But women are much more likely than men to be abused or murdered by someone they love. Women are much more likely than men to be raped, and to know their rapist and maybe even be friends with him. That is the type of violence which is “violence against women”, not because men are never the victims but because when men are violence victims they’re most often victims of a different kind of violence.

      It’s ironic that women are taught to fear strangers. For men, stranger danger is real and very powerful. 80% of all murder victims are male and most were killed by a stranger or someone they did not know well. For men, safety is in staying with women or other men you know and trust. For women, safety is in staying with women… period. A strange woman is far, far less likely to kill you than the man you love, statistically speaking.

      So should they rename it the Rape And Domestic Violence Act? Well, maybe. But it’s kind of disingenuous to act like the form of violence most often committed against women shouldn’t be associated with women because “men can be victims too!”, when we all know that men can be victims too because EIGHTY PERCENT OF MURDERED PEOPLE ARE DUDES.

      1. karak
        karak February 12, 2013 at 2:09 am |

        You are my new hero now.

      2. amblingalong
        amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 2:37 am |

        The fact that men are more likely to experience a different type of violence is not a reason to erase the men who experience domestic violence. That position does real, demonstrable harm to survivors of abuse. Knowing that men are way more likely to be murdered by a stranger, and that women are way more likely to be abused by a partner, does not help at all when you are a man being abused by a partner.

        By your logic it would be totally reasonable to call our anti-murder code “The Anti-Men-Getting-Killed Act.” 15% of murders is still thousands and thousand of lives that you’re casually dismissing.

        Please just stop.

        1. BabyRaptor
          BabyRaptor February 12, 2013 at 3:24 am |

          Please explain how the name of this law erases anyone’s experiences. It’s just the name of a piece of legislation. The law itself is gender-neutral, and in no way bars men from getting help, speaking out, getting justice, ETC.

        2. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 9:37 am |

          THe only difference I can think of, ambling, is that VAWA was a patch, to cover up earlier legality of domestic violence. If at any recent point in time it had been legal to up and kill someone just for being a male stranger, like it was to beat a woman just for being a wife/sister/daughter/mother, I wouldn’t give a damn if it were called the Anti-Men-Killed act (as long as women were included).

        3. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 11:50 am |

          THe only difference I can think of, ambling, is that VAWA was a patch, to cover up earlier legality of domestic violence. If at any recent point in time it had been legal to up and kill someone just for being a male stranger, like it was to beat a woman just for being a wife/sister/daughter/mother, I wouldn’t give a damn if it were called the Anti-Men-Killed act (as long as women were included).

          This is… not true. It was never legal to beat a woman for being a wife/sister/daughter/mother; there was no ‘close relationship’ exemption for assault laws. VAWA doesn’t make DV illegal, it provides for additional investigation, enforcement, prosecution, aid for survivors, etc.

          Please explain how the name of this law erases anyone’s experiences.

          I don’t think there’s any possible way to ask such an obvious question in good faith, especially one that’s been answered like six times.

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 11:55 am |

          This is… not true. It was never legal to beat a woman for being a wife/sister/daughter/mother; there was no ‘close relationship’ exemption for assault laws. VAWA doesn’t make DV illegal, it provides for additional investigation, enforcement, prosecution, aid for survivors, etc.

          …okay, then I’m baffled too. Seems like a low-faith argument. That was about the one thing that I could think of that might make the argument make sense… and I agree, you’ve answered several times, people should be reading rather than demanding a repeat performance.

        5. Anon21
          Anon21 February 12, 2013 at 1:14 pm |

          This is… not true. It was never legal to beat a woman for being a wife/sister/daughter/mother; there was no ‘close relationship’ exemption for assault laws.

          Not formally, in the statute books (at least after the mid 19th century in the U.S.; before that, it wasn’t a crime in most states for a husband to beat his wife). But of course, police and prosecutors determine how the laws on the books are enforced, and up until about the 1970s, American police and prosecutors in most parts of the country failed to enforce laws against assault when the perpetrator was a man and the victim was his intimate partner or other family member. By 1994, that was less of a problem in most parts of the country, but of course the effects of that widespread toleration of domestic violence, primarily against female victims, filter down to the present day.

        6. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

          But of course, police and prosecutors determine how the laws on the books are enforced, and up until about the 1970s, American police and prosecutors in most parts of the country failed to enforce laws against assault when the perpetrator was a man and the victim was his intimate partner or other family member. By 1994, that was less of a problem in most parts of the country, but of course the effects of that widespread toleration of domestic violence, primarily against female victims, filter down to the present day.

          Oh, I’m totally not arguing against this; I just was clarifying the actual legislative effect of VAWA.

      3. TomSims
        TomSims February 12, 2013 at 3:06 am |

        That is the best explanation of VAWA I’ve ever seen. Thank you. You should be in the Congress.

      4. Athenia
        Athenia February 12, 2013 at 11:14 am |

        *slow clap*

      5. Tim
        Tim February 12, 2013 at 12:17 pm |

        I pretty much agree with TomSims reply below that this is the best and most detailed explanation of VAWA I have seen. That is, your post is excellent at explaining the need for having the law in the first place, but I can still think of a reason for changing the name.

        Even though the text and scope of the law itself cover all people and it doesn’t “erase” anybody, I can envision situations where the name might cause confusion. For example, I think it’s possible that lazy or indifferent police or prosecutors facing a case where a man had been domestically abused might say of some provision of VAWA, “oh, we can’t use that; it only applies to women.” It could happen at a social services agency administering grant funds.

        Changing the name might help take away the (admittedly very dumb) argument that “it discriminates against men.” The GOP douchebags would still oppose it, but it would make it that much harder for them.

        1. amblingalong
          amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

          Changing the name might help take away the (admittedly very dumb) argument that “it discriminates against men.”

          It would also remove a major symbolic endorsement of the idea that men can’t be victims of abuse, but whatever.

    5. amblingalong
      amblingalong February 12, 2013 at 5:40 pm |

      Is this just a case of MRAs poisoning the well?

      1. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 5:50 pm |

        Yes. Yes, it is. Sorry, dude.

      2. Tim
        Tim February 12, 2013 at 8:04 pm |

        It would also remove a major symbolic endorsement of the idea that men can’t be victims of abuse, but whatever.

        Agreed, that also. Everything you said in the posts above.

  3. roro80
    roro80 February 11, 2013 at 12:39 pm |

    General question for those well versed in the law and happen to feel like educating today: if a US citizen goes into another country and commits a violent crime, aren’t they generally tried under the laws of that country? I understand that there are some subtleties about Native entities vs fully separate countries, and of course I believe everyone is entitled to a fair defense, but would this situation occur in similar ways for any other country? There must be some way for tribal courts to prosecute those who come onto their land and rape native women, and it certainly seems that the provisions suggested by Ms Pata should cover this. But I could be totally wrong on all this, as someone not too educated in law.

    1. Anon21
      Anon21 February 11, 2013 at 1:49 pm |

      I understand that there are some subtleties about Native entities vs fully separate countries, and of course I believe everyone is entitled to a fair defense, but would this situation occur in similar ways for any other country

      I’m only somewhat familiar with the law in this area, but my understanding is that “some subtleties about Native entities vs fully separate countries” understates it. Generally, the federal courts have said Congress has absolute authority to regulate the tribes, but that in many areas of the law, if Congress has not exercised that authority the tribes are assumed to maintain sovereign control of those areas. (Someone please correct me if I’m wrong about that.)

      I am certain that the tribes’ power to punish criminal offenses is circumscribed by federal statutes, which allow tribal courts to try only petty offenses (those in which the maximum potential sentence is one year’s imprisonment). Federal statutes also define the basic rights guaranteed to defendants in tribal court, which do not include a right to counsel for indigent defendants.

    2. speedbudget
      speedbudget February 12, 2013 at 7:45 am |

      From what I could glean from the article, it seems that the Feds have jurisdiction over violent crimes, but since there might be a prosecutor several hundred miles away, the case kind of just sits there or is forgotten. The article didn’t come out and state it clearly, but there was a mention about overworked prosecutors being located far away. So I would guess that for certain types of crimes, reservations don’t have jurisdiction, so it becomes a Federal case, and if the Federal prosecutor doesn’t have the time or inclination to deal with it, nothing happens.

    3. Athenia
      Athenia February 12, 2013 at 11:19 am |

      I think part of the problem is that going on native lands can be as simple as crossing the street so it’s not exactly like going to Canada or any other country, from what I understand.

      But that being said, I don’t think that should be a reason to skirt tribal authority.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll February 12, 2013 at 12:43 pm |

        And you can have blocks that are Federal Land, blocks that are Indian Land and no visible dividers. Sometimes, no one even knows who the land belongs to.

        But this is basically why Indian women get ZERO justice when non Natives assault them. Not only is there a dispute over jurisdiction (game wardens have been commonly called out to rape calls. Game Wardens. Let that sink in a moment) but Fed. prosecutors don’t give a fuck.

        1. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll February 12, 2013 at 12:45 pm |

          And that doesn’t include local law enforcement who tell Tribal Law Enforcement to not even bother calling them, and threaten Tribal law enforcement with violence if they so much as step a toe onto US Fed Land.

  4. matlun
    matlun February 11, 2013 at 1:17 pm |

    Perhaps “again” in the heading should be “still”?

    As I understand it, this bill has been stuck in reconciliation (with basically no progress due to douchebag politics) between the Senate and House versions since April 2012.

    Btw: Are the provisions to include support for gay couples still in the current bill?

    Editing nitpick: The heading should be “held up by Republicans”

  5. pheenobarbidoll
    pheenobarbidoll February 11, 2013 at 1:47 pm |

    “fear Indians are going to take out 500 years of mistreatment on us through this.”

    This. And the racist belief that our Tribal courts are backwards and not as enlightened or progressive as the white justice system because we’re still Indian savages.

    1. A4
      A4 February 11, 2013 at 2:18 pm |

      I am so very in agreement with you. While I was studying for my “democratization” final my last semester of college, I came across a version of The Great Law of Peace and read through it. I became super-pissed that there had been no mention of this document or practice in my entire course, and I dedicated my final exam to writing about it. I wasn’t surprised though, because the course was pretty damn racist in many other ways, but i was just blown away that such an amazing example of participatory democracy is totally elided from modern political history.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll February 11, 2013 at 4:14 pm |

        Most people have no idea that many, many Nations practiced true Democracy and in fact had a superior system. They’re still taught we had no ideas on property/land ownership (wrong!) and at best were like tree hugging hippes who needed white people to show us how to bathe.

        1. A4
          A4 February 11, 2013 at 4:39 pm |

          As if white people bathed back then.

        2. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll February 11, 2013 at 5:10 pm |

          Right? I made the mistake of watching The New World (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0402399/) and they made a huge production of some white lady “properly” bathing and dressing Pocahantas and making her “presentable”.

          Maddening.

        3. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 11, 2013 at 5:32 pm |

          Wait. Wait. WHITE people showing other people how to bathe? What new revisionist hell is this? Half those white people thought the devil lived in soap at the time!

        4. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 11, 2013 at 5:34 pm |

          I mean seriously. Valoniel and I were once challenged to write a medieval English lady/serf f/f alternate universe fanfic for Saiyuki, and from what we researched of the time, the lady’s decision to sleep around with other women was less eye-poppingly rebellious than her insistence on bathing regularly…

        5. pheenobarbidoll
          pheenobarbidoll February 11, 2013 at 7:37 pm |

          yup

        6. a lawyer
          a lawyer February 12, 2013 at 11:13 am |

          Back then we bathed once a season, whether we needed it or not!

        7. macavitykitsune
          macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 1:20 pm |

          Back then we bathed once a season, whether we needed it or not!

          Uphill both ways in a blizzard?

        8. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan February 14, 2013 at 12:37 am |

          Mac, don’t be silly; the blizzard was the bath in that case!

    2. a lawyer
      a lawyer February 12, 2013 at 9:24 am |

      Tribal courts certainly aren’t backwards or inferior.

      They’re different, though. Although that isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it increases the chance of their having a different solution to certain legal issues than would be

      The issue is that it’s tricky under some interpretations of the Constitution to have a situation where the U.S. government passes a law which would increase the chances of someone being denied a constitutional right to a defense. And in that respect, the U.S. government is quite protective: we generally try to keep U.S. citizens subject to U.S. law whenever possible.

      I agree that people look down on tribal systems and I don’t think that is appropriate…. but it’s not as if the U.S. jumps to allow European or Canadian law, either.

      I don’t know enough about tribal legal systems to know if the “appoint defenders in tribal courts” solution would resolve that issue. if it would then it seems like the best bet.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll February 12, 2013 at 12:40 pm |

        Indians aren’t guaranteed the right to a defense provided, BUT there are organizations that do just that(Because most Tribal Courts can’t afford to pay and keep public defenders), and since last year or so that’s been changing and schools have been training public defenders specifically for Tribal courts.

        In other words, if the government would stop stealing our money, we could afford public defenders.

  6. macavitykitsune
    macavitykitsune February 11, 2013 at 2:42 pm |

    He said some of his colleagues seem to “fear Indians are going to take out 500 years of mistreatment on us through this.”

    White lawmakers afraid of submitting to the same standards of laws, insist other white-made laws needed, news at 11.

    1. roro80
      roro80 February 11, 2013 at 5:48 pm |

      One possible real headline I gleaned from this quote: “Republican Senator actually admits Native people have been mistreated”. Not something you see every day.

      1. pheenobarbidoll
        pheenobarbidoll February 11, 2013 at 7:38 pm |

        Oh they admit it happened in the past. Just not anymore. Or by them. THEY didn’t kill any Indians, after all *eye roll*

  7. mxe354
    mxe354 February 11, 2013 at 4:58 pm |

    Oh, and speaking of VAWA, check out this awful article: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/feb/8/nance-why-congress-ought-ditch-vawa/

    I’m still baffled by the mention of “homosexual ideology.”

    1. Librarygoose
      Librarygoose February 11, 2013 at 5:19 pm |

      Please note that social scientists have changed the term from “spouse” to “intimate partner” due to the decline of marriage, which by the way correlates with an increase in domestic abuse of both women and children. Marriage is the safest place for women and children, yet VAWA does nothing to encourage the institution.

      I tried but about here my brain went, “Nope, nope nope.” It was the first paragraph. I’m not made of stern enough stuff.

      1. Librarygoose
        Librarygoose February 11, 2013 at 5:27 pm |

        I kept reading and it just got worse and worse.

      2. Amelia the Lurker
        Amelia the Lurker February 11, 2013 at 6:32 pm |

        Everyone knows that abusers get better when you marry them!

      3. A4
        A4 February 11, 2013 at 6:42 pm |

        Ooh! This is a fun game:

        Research shows that the number of cat pictures on the internet has been rising steadily since 1995, which, by the way, correlates with an increase in oil prices AND inflation.

        Research shows that the number of VHS tapes produces has steadily declined since 2000, which, by the way, correlates with an increase in US population.

        1. mxe354
          mxe354 February 11, 2013 at 7:39 pm |

          Research shows that the unemployment rate in the US has risen in the past decade, which, by the way, correlates with an increase in the number of Facebook accounts.

          You know what that means? We can lower the unemployment rate by deleting Facebook accounts! Social science is just amazing.

        2. A4
          A4 February 11, 2013 at 9:30 pm |

          Facebook is stealing all the jobs

        3. Bagelsan
          Bagelsan February 11, 2013 at 11:50 pm |

          It’s because of all the illegal immigrants on Facebook, who are willing to be on Facebook for cheaper than real Murkins. Duh.

      4. macavitykitsune
        macavitykitsune February 11, 2013 at 7:08 pm |

        What did I just read

    2. karak
      karak February 12, 2013 at 2:15 am |

      Whenever someone says something bizarre like “homosexual ideology” all I hear is the evil TV personality from V for Vendetta hissing, “Homossssssexualsss!”

    3. Tim
      Tim February 12, 2013 at 12:01 pm |

      I’m still baffled by the mention of “homosexual ideology.

      Yeah, me too — whatever happened to the homosexual agenda? So we don’t have an actual agenda any more, just some passive “ideology”? This seems like a step backwards.

      1. (BFing) Sarah
        (BFing) Sarah February 12, 2013 at 7:50 pm |

        LOL

  8. tigtog
    tigtog February 12, 2013 at 5:38 pm | *

    Latest press release from the Feminist Majority Foundation:

    SENATE LEADS THE WAY AND PASSES A STRONG VAWA

    The Senate, by a wide margin of 78-22, passed a strong inclusive Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act today. All 55 Democratic Senators and 23 Republican Senators voted to pass a bill that will strengthen protections for students, immigrants, Native American women, the LGBT community, and also aid victims of sex trafficking.

    Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation, remarked, “Although the Tea Party, Heritage Action, and FreedomWorks tried to politicize VAWA, the Senate led the way for common sense to prevail. VAWA works. Its prevention provisions work to reduce incidents of domestic violence, date violence, sexual assault and stalking crimes and its protective provisions help the victims of these crimes. Now the House must act immediately and pass the inclusive Senate reauthorization with a bipartisan vote. It currently has 194 cosponsors in the House. The political games that have caused well over a year’s delay in passing this VAWA Reauthorization must stop. VAWA has been and must remain a bipartisan effort. Violence against women cannot, must not be politicized, trivialized, or tolerated.”

    Although Heritage Action, the 501(c)(4) affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, and Freedom Works announced they were scoring the VAWA vote, giving any Senator who voted for VAWA negative marks, three-fourths of the Senate defied the threat and voted yes. Though some opponents argue VAWA is vague, the act is very specific . VAWA deals with felony and misdemeanor crimes of violence including domestic violence, sexual assault, date violence, stalking, and sex trafficking. It even has clauses to protect against family violence such as child and elder abuse.

    1. macavitykitsune
      macavitykitsune February 12, 2013 at 5:51 pm |

      YAY!

    2. White Rabbit
      White Rabbit February 12, 2013 at 7:16 pm |

      I’m still doing a happy dance four hours after originally hearing this news.

    3. Bagelsan
      Bagelsan February 13, 2013 at 7:34 pm |

      Yay!

      And this bit:

      It even has clauses to protect against family violence such as child and elder abuse.

      is very cool as well.

  9. Tim
    Tim February 12, 2013 at 8:19 pm |

    Excellent news indeed. I figured they were going to put one of their bullshit non-talking filibusters on it or something, but then after all that the vote wasn’t even close. Here are the Senators who voted against, which I got from TPM:

    The 22 Republicans who voted against it were Sens. John Barrasso (WY), Roy Blunt (MO), John Boozman (AR), Tom Coburn (OK), John Cornyn (TX), Ted Cruz (TX), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Chuck Grassley (IA), Orrin Hatch (UT), James Inhofe (OK), Mike Johanns (NE), Ron Johnson (WI), Mike Lee (UT), Mitch McConnell (KY), Rand Paul (KY), Jim Risch (ID), Pat Roberts (KS), Marco Rubio (FL), Tim Scott (SC), Jeff Sessions (AL) and John Thune (SD).

    The usual suspects, no surprises I suppose.

  10. TomSims
    TomSims February 13, 2013 at 3:54 am |

    And GOP senators voting for;

    “Interestingly, a number of Republicans who voted against the VAWA bill last year ended up voting for it this year. They are GOP Sens. Saxby Chambliss (Ga.), Johnny Isakson (Ga.), Jerry Moran (Kansas), Richard Shelby (Ala.), Pat Toomey (Pa.), Roger Wicker (Miss.) and Thad Cochran (Miss.).”

  11. USW Blog » Blog Archive » The Three Faces of GOP

    [...] it may be because to do otherwise would call attention to his own party’s embarrassing antics; like holding up the Violence Against Women Act again, with objections that the original bill was “unfair to men,” and too kind to Native American [...]

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