A GIF Guide to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA)
By Katie Halper | Published: February 11, 2013
In 1993, U.S. Senator Joseph Biden and the majority staff of the Senate Judiciary Committee conclude a three‐year investigation into the causes and effects of violence against women. In his introduction to the report, Senator Biden states, “Through this process, I have become convinced that violence against women reflects as much a failure of our nation’s collective moral imagination as it does the failure of our nation’s laws and regulations. We are helpless to change the course of this violence unless, and until, we achieve a national consensus that it deserves our profound public outrage.”
President Clinton signs the Violence Against Women Act into law on September 13, 1994. The Act strengthens laws against sexual assault, domestic violence, and stalking and provides much-needed funding for prevention, prosecution, and victim services efforts. The Act also established the Office on Violence Against Women within the Department of Justice.
The VAWA is reauthorized easily in a bipartisan vote in 2000 under Clinton.
The VAWA is again reauthorized easily in a bipartisan vote in 2005 under President Bush.
In April 2012, the Senate votes to reauthorize the VAWA.
But the House passes its own measure, omitting provisions of the Senate bill that would protect LGBTQ folks, Native Americans living on reservations, and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence.
Republicans refuse to compromise on these provisions. Apparently, it’s worth scrapping the whole bill rather than ensuring that these three vulnerable groups are protected.
On January 2, 2013, the Senate’s 2012 reauthorization of VAWA is not brought up for a vote in the House, and the law is allowed to expire after 18 years in effect.
As I write this, the bill has been reintroduced and will likely pass in the Senate today. But House Republicans are continuing to stall, refusing to budge on the protections for Native American women.
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