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PR: ‘Incendiary and Extreme:’ SAVE Deplores Vilification Campaign in Wake of Senate Approval of VAWA

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Contact: Teri Stoddard
Telephone: 301-801-0608

‘Incendiary and Extreme:’ SAVE Deplores Vilification Campaign in Wake of Senate Approval of VAWA

WASHINGTON / February 13, 2013 – Following yesterday’s Senate approval of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), advocates for prompt passage of the bill in the House of Representatives have launched a high-pressure campaign designed to portray Republicans as unsympathetic to the plight of domestic violence victims.

Within hours of Senate approval of the bill, a group called UltraViolet issued a statement announcing its strategy in bold-faced type: “If we can spread the word that House conservatives are blocking legislation to reduce domestic violence because ‘it’s not fair to men,’ we can create a political firestorm no politician will want to get caught up in.”

A press release from the National Organization for Women claims a “radical fringe” controls the Republican leadership and that majority leader Eric Cantor would continue his “shameful efforts” to delay passage of the bill. The N.O.W. statement includes an emotional claim about daily “burnings” of women.

The Huffington Post has previously denounced the N.O.W. attacks on Cantor as “incendiary and extreme” (1).

Last week the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee put out an alert demanding that Senate Republicans “abandon their War on Women and fund the Violence Against Women Act.” The DSCC message did not mention the fact that Democratic and Republican bills have recommended identical funding levels for VAWA.

Numerous groups have questioned the effectiveness of VAWA-funded programs:

— Concerned Women for America, the nation’s largest public policy group for women, notes in a recent editorial, “VAWA has morphed into a series of rigid and ineffective law enforcement programs” (2).

— The Independent Women’s Forum’s Fact Sheet on VAWA warns, “The criminal justice approaches funded by VAWA may be harming the very victims they were intended to protect” (3).

— A recent report documents VAWA-funded restraining orders, mandatory arrest, and aggressive prosecution policies can increase partner violence (4).

“I’ve never seen this level of fanatical name-calling,” says SAVE spokesperson Sheryle Hutter. “Instead of engaging in intimidation and bullying tactics, these groups should be thanking the courageous lawmakers who are willing to look at the facts, ask hard questions, and propose new ways to protect victims.”

Over 40 leading scientists and organizations have questioned VAWA’s ideological basis and endorsed major reforms to the law:

Stop Abusive and Violent Environments is a victim-advocacy organization working for evidence-based solutions to domestic violence and sexual assault: