I-VAWA: Making a Joke of the Truth?

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
December 3, 2013

Recently the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) was introduced in the House (H.R. 3571). A companion bill is expected to be dropped in the Senate soon.

This isn’t the first time that I-VAWA has been teed up for legislative debate. Similar I-VAWA bills were introduced in the 110, 111, and 112 sessions of Congress.

No one in their right mind is in favor of domestic violence, of course. But every time, the bill has fallen short. So what’s going on?

Ineffective Programs

Effective abuse-prevention programs require solid research and good data. For example, studies show half of domestic violence is bi-directional in nature: http://www.saveservices.org/dvlp/policy-briefings/partner-abuse-worldwide/

But I-VAWA proponents never mention the problem of mutual abuse. Why the big secret?

The Joke’s on Us?

Anyone who watches TV knows about the problem of female abusers. When Jodi Arias was tried last summer for the gruesome stabbing of her former boyfriend, it was mostly women in front of the courthouse who cheered at news of the guilty verdict.

This popular awareness is confirmed by hundreds of studies. Recently, a research paper summarized 200 studies of intimate partner violence in 85 countries around the world. Their conclusion: In most cases, “rates were higher for female perpetration/male victimization, or the same.”

But when advocates talk about I-VAWA, it seems they never mention female-perpetrated abuse. That defies all notions of reason and common sense.

It’s reached the point that you have to wonder, are they trying to see how many times they can get away with their half-truths and inflammatory claims without being called on them?

Is the joke on the rest of us?

Back to the Drawing Board

Domestic violence is a serious problem. And serious problems deserve serious solutions.
Stop Abusive and Violent Environments supports factually-based programs to end domestic violence.

But the current I-VAWA bill is rooted more in ideology than in reason or fact. Most persons understand that.