House GOP lets the Violence Against Women Act expire for first time since 1994

Here’s the sad truth: It is not all surprising that House Republicans have blocked the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) a final time, officially allowing it to expire until the next Congress. This is the first time since the VAWA was first passed in 1994 that it has failed to be re-authorized. The VAWA is normally a bipartisan bill that passes without controversy.

But not under these House Republicans. Given their track record for doing nothing productive for the American people they were elected to represent, it’s not surprising they would throw victims of domestic violence and sexual assault under the bus because they want to ensure no assistance is given to Native Americans, LGBT folks, and immigrants. Rep. Eric Cantor and his ilk are literally blocking the re-authorization because the updated bill expands access to help to certain types of people Republicans don’t want to help. Ya know, just like Jesus.

It’s also not surprising, because this is the same crew of winners that recently blocked funding for the disabled and for victims of Hurricane Sandy. 

In short: House Republicans will do anything to pretend they are sticking to invented conservative orthodoxy and ideologies that don’t align with any pragmatic form of governance here on earth.

The expiration of the VAWA hits home for me personally. Everyone who reads this site knows, I’m a rape survivor. After my assault, I went to get free counseling at a rape crisis center. Funding of which is provided by the VAWA.

When I searched for free counseling and jotted down the numbers to call, hoping to get help in my time of need, I had to call THREE different places before I was able to secure an appointment. The first two were all booked up for weeks and in my traumatized state I pressed on knowing that I would need the counseling to process fully what happened to me.

All survivors know that the immediate aftermath is a particularly sensitive time, with feelings of guilt, blame, rage, fear, anger, confusion, denial, depression and sadness. In many ways, I think it is similar to the stages of grief.

It’s essential that these feelings be processed with the help of a professional. All survivors know that your family and friends, no matter how well meaning, may not have the capacity to help you process all of these complex emotions and the trauma associated with being victimized.

That is why the VAWA is absolutely necessary. And that is why the Republican failure to pass the re-authorization that was sent to them by the Senate in April is a failure that should go down in the history books.

Rape happens to Republicans. It’s a shame that partisan politics couldn’t be put aside to pass a bill that shouldn’t even be up for a debate. The election came and went and all of the pundits forgot about the “War on Women.” I’m here to tell you it’s not over, it continues on in earnest, and it won’t ever be over until elected officials stop pretending like sexual assault and domestic violence happen to someone else. It doesn’t happen to someone else; it can happen to anyone.

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