The face of a rape survivor.

The VAWA expired a year ago and Republicans are still blocking reauthorization

The face of a rape survivor.

While you were out living life, the Violence Against Women Act expired.  For a year now, the infrastructure put in place and sustained by the 1994 landmark legislation has been in flux, leaving the future uncertain.  The law was reauthorized without incident in 2000 and 2005 but this year helping victims of rape and domestic violence has become a partisan issue.  Essentially, House Republicans have held up the renewal of the law because they don’t think all rape victims deserve help.

House Republicans are still blocking the reauthorization, which passed the Senate this spring, because of added protections and services for LGBT, Native American, and immigrant abuse victims.

These are the victims House Republicans deem unworthy of help.  House Republicans have passed a watered down version of the bill, removing added protections for these groups, instead of passing the Senate’s version so that it can be sent to President Obama for his signature.

As a rape survivor, it infuriates me beyond belief that elected officials feel superior enough to determine which victims deserve help.  All victims deserve help.  Why is this even up for discussion?  Rape isn’t partisan.  Rape happens to Republicans.  Rape happens to the 1%.  This should not be something that is  debated down party lines.

This issue is personal to me.  I was able to go to get free rape counseling immediately after my assault because of the VAWA.  Every victim should be able to get the help he or she needs regardless of who they are.

Just in time for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, it seems Republicans are doubling down on the the Todd Akin (R-MO) philosophy that some rapes are “legitimate” and others are not.  All rape victims deserve support.

Note: Rape impacts 1 in 4 American women.  And while we repeat these statistics over and over in the hopes that people understand the severity of the problem, it’s also important to remember that victims of abuse are people you know, and not just statistics.  As I searched, for a picture to put alongside this post, I decided that putting my own would be a statement in it of itself.  I’m a survivor, I’m not ashamed, and this issue which impacted my life in such a personal way should not be a partisan issue.


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