February 9, 2013
This Tuesday, the Senate will vote on its version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). For women’s sake, lawmakers should take a careful look at how effective VAWA has been since its inception and weigh that against how much money has been spent on the myriad programs funded by this legislation.
Unfortunately, as we have pointed out, there has been no scientifically rigorous evaluation of VAWA’s effectiveness. There is not a clear indication that it has worked. Yet, because it sounds nice, many politicians have used it to get brownie points with women or with their constituents.
Penny Young Nance is the CEO of Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy women’s organization with 500,000 members. She’s looked at VAWA and contends, correctly, that it is a woefully insufficient means of protecting women against violence.
Why? It has a catchy name, doesn’t it? There are plenty of lawmakers like Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) who say it’s really great and that it’s going to protect women in the future from violence, aren’t there?
They’ve got rhetoric and emotional appeal on their side. We’ve got facts on ours.
Let’s highlight a couple of the factual points made by Penny Nance:
•FACT: The Department of Justice estimates that “women are 62 times more likely to be assaulted by live-in boyfriends than they are by their husbands.” If liberal feminists behind VAWA really cared about the well-being of women, then they would be America’s biggest proponents of marriage between a man and woman.
•FACT: “VAWA has morphed into a series of rigid and ineffective law enforcement programs that continue to spend approximately $400 million each year. The sad truth is that VAWA doesn’t seem to have made enough of a difference to justify the cost to taxpayers.” Indeed, one Department of Justice official stated that “We have no evidence to date that VAWA has led to a decrease in the overall violence against women.”
These are not the only problems with VAWA. Penny Nance contends VAWA is “more about building feminist power structures than about protecting vulnerable women or addressing the major problems of battered women who end up in hospital emergency rooms.”
Once lawmakers become concerned with actually helping women, rather than with advancing feminist, anti-marriage, anti-family agendas, we’ll see women who are victims of violence getting help. Until then, the federal government will be doing what it’s best at, wasting our money and making matters worse.