As the Violence Against Women’s Act (VAWA) is up to be reauthorized this week, Black Women’s Blueprint has released a new study showing that sixty percent of black girls experience sexual assault by the time they turn 18.
The information was released based on a study of 300+ (and growing participants) nationwide. Black Women’s Blueprint conducted similar research 7 years ago and found 40 percent of women had reported being assaulted — indicating that things obviously aren’t getting better. “[W]e need to stop neglecting the issue,” co-founder Farah Tanis told NewsOne.
Specifically, the group and other organizations are seeking to put language in the renewed VAWA that addresses the fact that women of color are disproportionately affected by domestic violence and assault — part of the reason being that the Department of Justice has been excluding organizations that focused on communities of color when allocating grant money, according to advocate Rep. John Conyers (D-Mich):
“This language was necessary because the bureaucrats at the Department of Justice were ignoring communities of color when considering grants from domestic violence, rape prevention and other organizations.”
Apparently federal law prohibits VAWA from including language that allocates government funding based on race — though I did find programs within the Office of Violence Against Women that earmarks funds to programs assisting indigenous communities, specifically “American Indian and Alaska Native women.” At the very least, it’s time to implement new programs that address sexual assault and violence against women within communities of color; this new study is an indicator that there’s clearly no time to waste.