Contact: Teri Stoddard
Shrill Rhetoric and Partisan Squabbling Doomed Violence Against Women Act, SAVE Says
WASHINGTON/January 4, 2013 – Anti-violence advocates are dismayed after the 112th Session of Congress ended without hammering out differences in the Senate and House versions of the Violence Against Women Act renewal. Last-minute talks between Vice President Joe Biden and House Leader Eric Cantor failed to resolve differences in provisions regarding immigrants, Indians, and lesbian/gay victims of intimate partner violence.
The Violence Against Women Act has enjoyed strong bi-partisan support in the past. But this past Spring, advocacy groups invoked the “War on Women” phrase to criticize the Republican-backed version of the bill.
As the year progressed, advocates escalated their criticisms. Terry O’Neill, president of the National Organization for Women, charged, “Who is Eric Cantor to say that it’s okay for some women to get beaten and raped? If they happen to be Native women who are attacked by a non-Native man, as far as Eric Cantor is concerned, those women are tossed.”
The Huffington Post derided the NOW attacks on Cantor as “incendiary and extreme” (1). A Washington Post editorial targeted the “ridiculous hyperbole that each side has employed to impugn the other’s motives” (2).
“The rhetoric has been over-the-top and personal attacks only serve to harm the good relationships that are essential for political compromise,” explains SAVE spokesman Steve Blake. “As we move into the next session of Congress, SAVE hopes all key stakeholders can work together to develop a better law that will protect all victims.”
A national poll found a strong majority of registered voters are in favor of reforming VAWA (3).
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to partner violence and sexual assault: www.saveservices.org.