That Awful Moment when the House implicitly endorses violence against women

House Republicans have stooped low in their all-out war on women by turning an issue that has never been bipartisan–that violence against women is a bad thing–into a partisan one voting 222-206 in support of a ridiculous, callous and watered down version of the Violence Against Women Act. As Vanessa noted Tuesday, it was slated to be voted on Wednesday with the hope that they wouldn’t pass the watered down version the House produced–but we should only be so hopeful.

This bill denies protection of undocumented immigrants, Native/indigenous people and LGBT victims of violence. Distinguishing these populations that are actually highly vulnerable and susceptible to violence is uniquely callous. What could motivate such thinking? Well, Amanda looked through the list of lobbyists in support of this particular version of the bill and let’s just say–they are exactly the kind of people that would love to legalize violence against women.

She writes at Pandagon,

Prior to this year, even Republicans by and large felt that tacitly endorsing moderate levels of wife-beating was a bridge too far, but since their new motto is, “Bitches: Fuck ‘Em”, I suppose this sort of thing was inevitable. Right Wing Watch has a piece up about the lobbyists who influenced this vote. These lobbyists, led by the anti-victim group Concerned Women for America, is a real cadre of hateful people. The coalition released a letter supporting the watered-down bill, and it was signed by a rather notorious wife-beater who ran for office by claiming his ex-wife endorsed him, which she did not. There’s also a group that represents men who purchase mail order brides. They’re concerned that the bill would allow women who have been secured through their services to divorce husbands who beat them without being deported. (A favorite tactic of abusers is to marry immigrants, often secured through these services, and then terrorize them with the threat of deportation if they don’t take their beatings like good girls.) These are the people that the Republicans are listening to.

Only a party desperately clinging to any semblance of relevance would allow this kind of thinking to make it this far in the legislative process. You can’t give MRA’s the light of day–they are called trolls for a reason!

Twenty-three House Republicans voted against the bill, 6 democrats voted for it and the White House has said they will veto the house version if it makes it to the President’s desk. Via.


Join the Conversation

  • Brüno

    This is where the congressmen assess the intelligence of their voterbase. Will they understand that voting AGAINST VAWA was so that a better Version could pass, or is all they will get, he voted against VAWA? Depending on the way I think about my constituents I am not sure I want to be the one who voted down VAWA.

  • jerin

    Are you as angry as I am? Help us change it. There is still hope.

    This is an issue I have been following and fighting for since the beginning. Disclaimer: That is because I am on the National Board of The National Organization for Women (NOW). Pat Reuss of NOW, along others, proposed and helped create the original VAWA, helped set up The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women, and continues to fight for VAWA. Pat has been sending action alerts repeatedly; long before most other organizations picked it up, asking us to contact our elected officials.

    Although the bill passed in the House, it was a divided and a very close vote. This will help to strengthen the voice of victims when the House and Senate bill are reconciled in the conference process and we will continue to work hard to get a VAWA that protects ALL victims.

    Now we must thank those who stood for and with victims of violence and express our disappointment in those who did not and voted to weaken VAWA. We can look forward to the conference process, where we can push to ensure that the vote will more closely reflect the Senate passed S. 1925. Please take the following actions – we have to keep the pressure up to get the best final bill we can!

    Click this link to find those who voted “NO” To find your Representative, click here Use the Capitol Switchboard to be connected with your Representative’s office (202) 224-3121.

    Modify and send this Letter to the Editor to express your disappointment with the following Representatives who voted yes (AYE) for H.R. 4970, a bill that moves backward on VAWA.

    Find out if your Representative voted for the flawed H.R.4970 through this link
    (an “AYE” vote is a yes on H.R. 4970). To find your Representative, click here
    Use the Capitol Switchboard to find your Representative’s phone number – (202) 224-3121.

    For more details, go to: There is still hope: Follow up with your Representative on Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) Vote on H.R. 4970

  • Beebe

    I’ve been trying to find studies of the effectiveness of VAWA over the years. So far, I’ve found this: Pretty inconclusive, although there is an argument to be made for how it has influenced attitudes. Can anyone recommend additional resources? Thank you!

  • Andrew

    What the hell is wrong with those Republican (men)? (I say men because every Republican woman senator passed the VAWA reauthorization before Boehner and his ReTHUGLICANS butchered the bill). For this bill, Republican women Michele Bachmann, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Virginia Foxx, and Marsha Blackburn voted for the soft VAWA. (Source:; for first names: However, other woman Republican reps. joined their Democratic counterparts like Nancy Pelosi: Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, and House resident libertarian Ron Paul also voted nay.

    In fact, if you’re old enough or are a US history/feminism buff you probably know or remember that Republican presidents Richard Nixon and Gerald Ford both endorsed the Equal Rights Amendment. Support in the US Senate was bipartisan too! (sources: Congressional Record from 1972, vol. 118, p. 9,598, yes you’ll have to zoom in to the roll call on the lower right of page 9,598.) Fast-forward about 4 decades and now the Grover Norquists, evangelical Christians, Big Ag, Big Oil, corporate interests, and now reactionary MRA’s have captured the Republican Party.