Debunking the War on Women
In the upcoming weeks, Republicans need to be prepared for another onslaught of phony ‘war on women’ propaganda. Leading the latest charge is the fact that many in the GOP—including Rep. Michele Bachmann–voted against the Violence Against Women Act.
Why in the world would anyone vote against something called a ‘Violence Against Women Act’?
According to HeritageAction.com, the bottom line is that VAWA is yet another way for the federal government to become deeply—and in some ways, bizarrely–involved in local/state matters.
In addition to violating Articles I and III of the Constitution, Heritage says the ‘deceptively named’ Violence Against Women Act of 2013 would “reauthorize and expand the 1994 law that made domestic violence – typically handled by state and local governments – a federal crime.”
Consider this scenario: You are going through a very difficult divorce and your husband (or wife, for that matter) accuses you of spousal abuse. Whether it’s true or not, would you want the federal government—say, Eric Holder and his DOJ—handling your case?
VAWA would also broaden the definition of domestic violence to include causing ‘emotional distress.’ Heritage says, “This expansive and vague language will increase fraud and false allegations, for which there is no legal recourse.” In other words, even allegations of emotional distress could be taken to the federal level and used against you.
But perhaps most deceiving, the Violence Against Women Act does nothing to actually protect women from violence but instead makes it easier for lawyers in litigation.
In an imperfect world, there will always be work to be done to prevent acts of violence. But the “solutions” put in place by VAWA are based on the idea that violence against women is a result of their “weaker social, political, and financial status.” Thus, the “substance of VAWA focused largely on redistributing power and resources to female victims.”
On the surface, many of the items included in VAWA sound good: increase federal tax dollars going to groups who work on domestic violence issues, increase legal aid to victims, expand the definition of violence to include stalking and provide handouts to local courts to hire more counseling services. Unfortunately none of these have authorization in the Constitution—which is of course necessary for all Federal expansion–and are more properly handled at the state and local level. (Unless, of course, you want your federal tax dollars to pay for everyone in America’s personal disputes…)
“Using federal agencies to fund the routine operations of domestic violence programs that state and local governments could provide is a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of the federal government. Simply expanding the VAWA framework with extensive new provisions and programs that have been inadequately assessed is sure to facilitate waste, fraud, and abuse and will not better protect women or victims of violence generally.”
And perhaps one of the strangest items buried deep inside VAWA pertains to Native American disputes. From Heritage:
The bill would allow non-Native Americans accused of domestic violence on tribal lands to be tried in those tribal courts, thereby eliminating the right of the accused to face a jury of their peers. Under VAWA, men effectively lose their constitutional rights to due process, presumption of innocence, equal treatment under the law, the right to a fair trial and to confront one’s accusers, the right to bear arms, and all custody/visitation rights. It is unprecedented, unnecessary and dangerous.
In our book, What Women (Really) Want, my co-authors Morgan Brittany, Gina Loudon, and I encourage everyone–on both sides of the fence–to read beyond the headlines. If you’re unsure of something, do your homework to find the answers. In this case, unlike most of our Democrats friends, the Republicans who voted against VAWA actually read beyond the title of the bill. In other words, they actually read the bill to find out what was inside the bill—as should always be the case.