Group Opposes VAWA Because Act Helps Lesbians

Need another reason to support Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization? Concerned Women for America (CWA) is against it.

Yes, the same group that opposes abortion and most forms of birth control [PDF], as well as all LGBT rights: marriage, civil unions, domestic partnerships, adoption and hate crimes protection. For their “dubious” anti-gay statements–including equating homosexuality with pedophilia–the Southern Poverty Law Center classifies them as a hate group.

CWA not only opposes VAWA reauthorization with the claim that is a waste of money (calling it a “boondoggle for feminists”), but also because it extends protections to lesbian victims of violence and thus, CWA says, embraces “the homosexual agenda.”

There are plenty of far-fetched anti-VAWA arguments already out there. So-called “men’s rights” groups (MRAs) have sought to block VAWA by labeling it a men-vs.-women issue. They say the name of the Act discriminates against men. Ironically, VAWA has always served victims of all genders–so these groups appear to be are more intent on attacking feminism than on truly helping male victims (as I’ve written previously). MRAs claim to speak for all men, but thousands of other men have rallied to VAWA’s defense by signing pro-VAWA petitions.

Some Republicans, too, have sought to block VAWA reauthorization by labeling it a liberal vs. conservative issue. Even though VAWA has had broad bipartisan support in the past and the current measure has several Republican cosponsors, all eight Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted against VAWA reauthorization.

But this is the first effort I’ve seen to label VAWA a gay vs. straight issue. And it’s a dangerous tactic: The Boston-based group The Network/La Red estimates that 25-33 percent of LGBTQ people are abused by a partner. LGBTQ victims of violence suffer at the hands of the perpetrator and then suffer again from a culture of silence around LGBTQ domestic abuse. Fear of being outed in a homophobic, heterosexist society leads victims to underreport the crime. Now Concerned Women for American wants to contribute to that silencing.

These tactics don’t seem to be working. Groups pushing for VAWA reauthorization stand firm in their support of extending protection to LGBTQ, Native and immigrant victims of violence. In turn, these groups (the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the National Network to End Domestic Violence, Break the Cycle, Futures Without Violence, NOW, the Feminist Majority Foundation and others) deserve our support.  So do groups who provide services to victims of violence from the LGBTQ community: the Network/La Red, the Survivor Project, the Gay Men’s Domestic Violence Project, Community United Against Violence,  and the Northwest Network. The LGBTQ rights group Human Rights Campaign today started its own pro-VAWA petition.

VAWA reauthorization could come to the Senate floor any day this week. Now more than ever, right-wing groups are trying to split support for this bill–now more than ever, we need to rally support for all victims of violence.

Take Action: Click here to tell your Senator to reauthorize VAWA!

Photo is from Flickr user Fibonacci Blue under Creative Commons 3.0.

Comments

  1. norm green says:

    I can’t believe there are so many people in this day and age who still have titles to give Americans. Gay, straight, black, white, red etc… there should only be one word for everyone- AMERICAN. Everyone is different in some way or another, whether it shows or not. I grew up knowing this and living by the phrase – Different strokes for different folks. You don’t have to approve of what the other people are. You just need to respect that it is their choice. If this bill really helps with domestic violence, then we need it and who cares who it will help, as long as it does help.

  2. Ceemonkey says:

    The VAWA provides services for men? Maybe in a sense, but it’s only token services so that people like the author can say such services are provided.

    Here’s the key: SUBSTANTIVE services are not provided by VAWA-funded organizations. At best, men are provided one or two night vouchers for hotels, after which they must return to their abusers, or find somewhere else to live. Most of the time, VAWA-funded organizations turn men away outright.

    Most of us male victims are silent, because speaking out brings shame, and often arrests. I know this from experience. After abuse by my wife, I sought help from two VAWA-funded programs. One flat out said, and I quote, “you’re a big guy, figure it out yourself.” The other asked me what I did to make her angry, and suggested that I probably deserved it, and I should obey her.

    AN IMPORTANT CONSIDERATION: When domestic violence against women became a recognized issue in the 1970s, “statistics” showed that few women were victims. More and more women spoke up, and we gradually realized it is a major problem. So goes the statistics with men. Soon, the truth will out, and the gender war proponents will lose the battle. It’s not a gender issue, nor a “who is abused most” issue. It is an issue about victims.

  3. Ceemonkey says:

    And I will add: The same goes for lesbians, gay men, transexuals, and any other class. Why should we limit or definition or recognition to only one class of victims? ONE VICTIM, NO MATTER WHO THEY ARE, I IS ONE VICTIM TOO MANY.

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