This week, we celebrated the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was included with the fiscal year appropriations package approved by Congress. VAWA is a crucial support for women across the country experiencing violence, more so than ever in this current moment. The COVID-19 pandemic, with its economic stressors and repeated lockdowns, has compounded domestic violence problems, leading advocates to name it a “shadow pandemic.”
After months of negotiations, a bipartisan group of senators announced Wednesday that they had reached a deal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)—which has been expired since December 2018.
The Equal Rights Amendment, which is stuck in a tug-of-war with the U.S. archivist and the Senate, would provide the basis for Congress to enact stronger laws on gender violence, including restoring the civil rights remedy in VAWA.
I joined the activist movement nearly 30 years ago. The first year, I worked alone with no funding in a room the size of a closet. Approximately 700 women reached out for support.
Today, one in three women worldwide will suffer from domestic violence. A coalition of grassroots women’s rights activists, including myself, along with medical experts and human rights attorneys from all corners of the world are advocating for a solution: a new global agreement to end violence against women and girls.
For years, the U.S. has failed immigrant survivors by limiting their access to critical assistance programs. The LIFT the BAR Act is an opportunity for Congress to take real steps towards protecting immigrant survivors and getting them the resources they need.
The LIFT the BAR Act restores access to federal assistance programs like Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), by removing the five-year bar and other barriers that deny critical care and aid to people who are lawfully present.
Nearly 85 percent of Indigenous women said they had experienced violence and about half of Indigenous women have experienced sexual violence and physical violence by an intimate partner. The vast majority of Native American survivors also report being harmed by a non-Indigenous person.
Women who are murdered by men are almost always killed by someone they know. The number of women shot and killed by their husband or intimate acquaintance was more than three and a half times the total number murdered by male strangers using all weapons combined. And Black women are at a significantly higher risk of homicide victimization than white women.
When she was a college freshman in 1994, Christy Brzonkala was gang-raped by two students at Virginia Tech. Brzonkala turned to a law newly passed called the Violence Against Women Act—and her case made it to the Supreme Court, where women’s right to equal protection from violence ultimately died.
When passed, the Equal Rights Amendment would spark Congress to enact new laws on gender violence, including redrafting the Violence Against Women Act civil rights remedy, and chart a path to overturn Brzonkala’s devastating decision.
The U.S. downplays the growing issue of gender-based killings and violence by failing to call it what it is: femicide.
Recent high-profile murders have received immense media coverage, but the reality is they aren’t rare events. Femicide is a global issue that disproportionately impacts BIPOC women and requires urgent action to prevent. The U.S. needs to adopt a language of femicide that recognizes the gendered nature of ongoing murders of women in the nation, as well as the larger social patterns connecting them.
On October 1, Pipeline 3 became operational in Minnesota, despite resistance efforts led by Indigenous women and two-spirit individuals, who are seeking to hold President Biden accountable for promises made and broken.
The construction of the pipeline endangers local women and girls and infringes upon the rights of the rice, the land, the water, the nonhuman beings and the people.
At long last, Congress is on the verge of passing the first federal law to criminalize revenge porn. This will aid in prosecuting offenders and those who facilitate them, serve to deter future offenses, and signal to victims that we are finally taking this abhorrent crime seriously.