House Republicans have decided to dig in over the changes proposed to the Violence Against Women Act and put forward their own, almost unchanged bill. The Democrats wanted to expand protections for battered Native American women, extend the law to cover same sex couples and give residence visas to battered illegal immigrants, sort of giving them the same protections as political refugees. Republicans don’t want to include gays or illegals in the law and believe that Native American women already have enough services.
Representative Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington, a member of the House Republican leadership, told the press, “House Republicans are committed to protecting the true victims of domestic violence and sexual assault.” So, Native Americans, gays and illegal immigrants are the “fake” victims? Is that it?
Let’s start with Native Americans. The Democratic adjustment to the law targets services provided on the reservation, or more politically correctly, in Native “communities.” These are communities with some of the highest alcoholism numbers in America. The connection between alcohol abuse and spousal abuse is older than my grandmother. In any insular community, there is peer pressure to hide abuse in order to protect the community.
Illegal immigrants are afraid of the police, so abuse is not reported. In some communities, like Maricopa County, Arizona, a police pattern of ignoring sexual abuse complaints from the Hispanic community has served to increase sexual abuse and domestic violence. If no one is going to act against the abuser or rapist, then these men feel free to commit their crimes. This provision goes beyond just protecting women from an abusive situation that can lead to a woman’s permanent disability or death. It helps the government find the kind of illegal immigrant we want prioritized for deportation. The Obama administration has decided to go after those illegal immigrants who commit other crimes before going after those guilty only of the misdemeanor of being here without papers. Spousal abuse is a violent crime. Beating a spouse indicates a violent person. We want violent illegals removed – ergo, if the victims feel free to come forward, we could capture and deport more violent illegals.
And gay couples? This actually goes toward the fact that men can be the victims of spousal abuse, not just women. In every relationship, straight or gay, there is a dominant personality, and that personality can become violent. I’d personally like to see men included in a domestic violence law. Though abused men are a very, very infinitesimal portion of the victims, it is sexist to exclude them. I also think the law should be expanded to provide counseling support for victims of emotional and psychological abuse, which is as great a problem as physical abuse and more prevalent in situations where physical size is not the main factor in abuse. Emotional and psychological abuse are also frequently gateways to physical abuse.
Pity the poor Republicans…they are trying so very hard to overcome the perception that they are waging war on women. For anything like the roll-out of their “alternative” VAW law, they called out the female Republicans. They are building up a pattern here, using (abusing?) the female members of their party to put the right mascara’d face on their anti-women legislation. I even get why there is such a thing as a female Republican. There are so few of them and they are so needed for window dressing that they get loads of support from the party to fulfill their personal ambitions. The downside for the Republican Party is how they have to support women like Virginia Fox, Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin no matter how mean-spirited, crazy or dumb they get.