I-VAWA: Maybe Rep. Schakowksy Needs a New Fact-Checker?

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments
January 6, 2014

Recently SAVE took a look at the Findings in the International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA) and boy, were we amused!
It’s not too often that someone tries to say — with a straight face — that the earth is flat and the Abominable Snowman is holed up on the fifth floor of the Cannon Building.
Of course, these statements don’t appear in the I-VAWA Findings. But when we read through the claims in H.R. 3571, recently introduced by Rep. Jan Schakowsky, we nearly fell out of our chairs in disbelief.
Think we’re exaggerating?
Well…our stalwart team of researchers combed through the bill’s 16 findings. When they compared them with published research studies, only 3 of them turned out to be unbiased and truthful.
Serious errors were found with the remaining 13 Findings:
• False: 5 findings
• Biased and misleading: 6 findings
• Vague: 1 finding
• Unverifiable: 1 finding
You can see SAVE’s analysis here: http://www.saveservices.org/dvlp/policy-briefings/i-vawa-2013-findings/
Mystery Informant
Finding #2 states, “Up to 70 percent of women in some countries report having been victims of domestic violence at some stage in their lives.”
Sounds horrific, until you realize the 70% figure comes from two “studies” – one of them an unpublished survey, and the other a “personal communication” from a mystery informant last seen somewhere in Nicaragua.
Yes, the I-VAWA Fact-Checker wanted this “factoid” to be listed as a Congressional Finding!
Settling for 50% of the Truth?
Remember the old Yiddish saying, A half-truth is a whole lie? Studies from 85 countries around the world show men and women are equally likely to engage in intimate partner aggression, and that half of all abuse is mutual: http://www.saveservices.org/dvlp/policy-briefings/partner-abuse-worldwide/
But if we ignore these 2 essential facts, the rest of the discussion dissolves into a whimsical foray into La-La Land.
Biggest Laugh-Getter
The I-VAWA Fact-Checker decided to save the best for last. Here’s Finding #16: “Domestic violence is the most prevalent form of violence against women.”
But according to the World Health Organization, the leading causes of violence-related deaths for women are suicide, homicide, and war-related injuries. Domestic violence doesn’t even appear on the list!
Link:http://whqlibdoc.who.int/publications/2002/9241545615_eng.pdf – Table A.6.
Let’s Stop the Funny Business
Across the globe, domestic violence is a serious problem. And denying the existence of half the problem isn’t going to work.
Sadly, the current I-VAWA bill is rooted more in ideology than in fact. Where’s the humor in that?