The Office on Violence Against Women gets a new (scary) director


The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is a tremendous feminist success story. The legislation, which was passed in 1994 and reauthorized in 2000 and 2006, allows for $3.9 billion in funding to help survivors of intimate partner violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Feminists were the driving force behind the drafting and passage of VAWA–it’s our baby.
So you can imagine my disappointment when I found out the Office on Violence Against Women (OVW) (where VAWA lives) is going to be run by yet another wacky Bush appointee.
Mary Beth Buchanan, US Attorney for the Western District of Pennsylvania, is set to be OVW’s Acting Director.
Buchanan’s claims to fame?
She’s an enthusiastic cheerleader of the Patriot Act. (It preserves civil liberties, she says!)
She spent $12 million on “Operation Pipe Dreams,” taking down 55 people for selling bongs. This included actor Tommy Chong–in the courtroom, Buchanan introduced his fictional pot-smoking characters as evidence of his “frivolous” attitude towards drug laws.
She’s an anti-obscenity crusader, prosecuting people for written stories on the internet and going after any and all porn. (Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a fan of violent porn and the like, but Buchanan strikes me as more interested in enforcing morality than the law.) The legal director for the Pittsburgh ACLU once called Buchanan “the vanguard of [former U.S. Attorney General John] Ashcroft’s attempt to impose his morality on others.” Yikes.
So basically, this sucks. I can see it now…VAWA funds being diverted to conservative anti-obscenity groups under the rhetoric of protecting women. I am completely freaked out.

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11 Comments

  1. Posted November 29, 2006 at 1:01 pm | Permalink

    Oy.
    So is it time for feminist groups to team up with the porn industry and start lobbying hardcore?

  2. Colleen
    Posted November 29, 2006 at 1:10 pm | Permalink

    Scary. Bush’s appointees are getting creepier and creepier all the time. Anti-feminist women make me saddest of all.
    And $12 million to take down 55 people for selling bongs? That doesn’t seem like a very responsible use for our tax dollars.

  3. Posted November 29, 2006 at 3:03 pm | Permalink

    It’s good she wasn’t around in the early 90s, or my friends could have faced legal liability for “Good Sir Nasty,” a five-foot tall lavenderish bong, in what would have dubbed THE TRIAL OF THE CENTURY.

  4. isfa
    Posted November 29, 2006 at 3:09 pm | Permalink

    Is she related to my other favorite Buchanans? (Pat and Faye?)

  5. entlord
    Posted November 29, 2006 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

    It is a good thing she was not around in the late 60s when, following a late snowstorm, we erected a six foot snow sculpture as a tribute to being male and even, in the interest of positive messaging, covered it with a clear plastic trashbag.
    The local police (both of them) were unsympathetic enough since we raised our monument on the front lawn of the local Baptist church.

  6. squip
    Posted November 29, 2006 at 5:26 pm | Permalink

    So basically, this sucks. I can see it now…VAWA funds being diverted to conservative anti-obscenity groups under the rhetoric of protecting women. I am completely freaked out.
    Now that’s synergy. I wonder, will we soon be seeing Pat Robertson quoting Andrea Dworkin on the 700 Club? That’d almost be worth it.
    It is a good thing she was not around in the late 60s when, following a late snowstorm, we erected a six foot snow sculpture as a tribute to being male and even, in the interest of positive messaging, covered it with a clear plastic trashbag.
    The local police (both of them) were unsympathetic enough since we raised our monument on the front lawn of the local Baptist church.

    Awesome.

  7. S_R_G
    Posted November 30, 2006 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    “It is not the business of government to make men virtuous or religious, or to preserve the fool from the consequences of his own folly. Government should be repressive no further than is necessary to secure liberty by protecting the equal rights of each from aggression on the part of others and the moment governmental prohibitions extend beyond this line they are in danger of defeating the very ends they are intended to serve.”~ Henry George

  8. Posted November 30, 2006 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

    Ooh, Jessica, does K-Lo ever have YOUR number:
    Some feminists seem to be hysterical about the president appointing someone who, among other things, is not keen on pornography to the Office on Violence Against Women.
    GodDAMN that’s tasty intellectual dishonesty!

  9. AZ_Squeegee
    Posted November 30, 2006 at 6:23 pm | Permalink

    I think this is what you can expect with the Bush Administrations new-found spirit of cooperation. In short, Bush expects women to be happy with this appointment because he didn’t appoint a man.

  10. wwilliam.klein
    Posted July 12, 2009 at 8:02 am | Permalink

    Women on campus may be aided by other provisions of VAWA II, which the Senate added to the Higher Education Act re-authorization bill in a July vote. Senators Paul Wellstone, D-Minn., and Arlen Specter, R-Pa., offered an amendment to require a National Baseline Study to document the effectiveness of campus procedures against sexual assault. Other provisions include grants to improve campus security, prohibit hate crimes and establish penalties for schools that are delinquent in reporting campus crime statistics. A final vote awaits conference committee efforts to resolve differences between the House and Senate versions. NOW activists should immediately urge members of Congress to maintain these strong provisions in the Higher Education Act.
    Sen. Joe Biden, D-Del., introduced his own Violence Against Women bill (S. 2110) in June. Biden’s bill contains some but not all of the provisions of the House VAWA II bill that advocates would like to see passed. Recent reports are that Senators Patty Murray, web design D-Wash., and Wellstone were to introduce a companion measure that would complete the package. Sen. Wellstone was also successful in attaching to the FY99 Defense Authorization bill an amendment that would enhance compensation and protection of domestic violence survivors who are military personnel or dependents.
    Many positive comments were made at Senate and House hearings in July about a proposed expansion of federal criminal statutes to include sex-based, sexual orientation-based and disability-based hate crimes. NOW President Patricia Ireland spoke at a news conference, prior to the Senate hearing, search engine optimization in support of this bipartisan legislation (S. 1529/H.R. 3081), called the Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 1998.

  11. george chemy
    Posted July 27, 2009 at 3:58 am | Permalink

    We’ve known for a long time how bad the situation in the Central African Republic is for women 70-270 exam and girls there. The prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, which has an open investigation into crimes committed during CAR’s 2002-2003 civil war, has even said that the number of suspected rapes far exceeds the number of extra-judicial killings during that war. Still 70-238 exam, it is a shock to the conscience to see a statistic like this:
    Over 15 per cent of women and girls in the violence-ridden north of the Central African Republic (CAR) are victims of rape and other forms of sexual violence 70-351 exam, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said today.
    Reports coming in on a weekly basis describe such incidents as two 12-year-old girls being raped while searching for firewood in the bush and a 13-year-old girl assaulted on her way to sell palm oil at a market.
    “Sexual violence is a disturbingly common feature of the insecurity in the north of the Central African Republic,” said UN Emergency Relief Coordinator John Holmes 350-001 exam. “We must ensure that those responsible are brought to justice.”

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