Get VAWA Done now!S. 47 is a strong, bipartisan bill – with 61 sponsors (including BOTH California Senators Feinstein and Boxer!!). This bill is very similar to the bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Leahy and Crapo last Congress and would improve VAWA programs and strengthen protections for all victims of violence.

In addition to many important improvements, such as addressing the criminal justice response to sexual assault, domestic violence homicides, housing needs, and campus victimization included in legislation last year, the current Senate bill also maintains enhanced protections for tribal, LGBT and immigrant victims. These provisions were identified as critical priorities by advocates across the country and received overwhelming bipartisan support last year in the Senate. [click to continue…]

Screen shot 2013-01-29 at 9.07.47 AMThis past Friday, a conservative member of the British Parliament told advised women to avoid being raped by practicing “risk management”, i.e. not wearing short skirts and high heels. MP Richard Graham stated:

 “I stressed the issue was about risk management, about being aware of what behaviour or clothes might put you more at risk and less at risk. Risk management is a million miles from saying anything like ‘she was asking for it’.”

Is it? I don’t think so. [click to continue…]

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 11.23.47 AMSenator Patrick Leahy (D-VT) and Senator Mike Crapo (R-ID) introduced the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) last night with additional bipartisan co-sponsors including California’s Diane Feinstein. The legislation, Senate Bill 47, is almost identical to the bill that passed the Senate last year, including the same strong provisions to address sexual assault.

A number of minor changes were included in the bill (S.47): [click to continue…]

Screen shot 2013-01-14 at 1.13.36 PMIn recent days, journalists and media outlets have been doing a side by side comparison of the way that the sexual assaults in New Delhi and Steubenville have been framed for the public. In late December, a 23-year-old student was gang-raped on her way home from a movie, assaulted so viciously that she died two weeks later. In Steubenville, Ohio, high school football players are accused of repeatedly raping an unconscious 16-year-old girl, instigating ensuing commentary from other team members and community members. The recent debate has focused on why the media portrayal of the cases has been so different. Some articles have claimed that American media sources are quick to point the finger at India’s flaws while neglecting to admit that we in the United States have a lot of work to do to improve victim services and overall response. Others have written about the need to report on the two incidents differently, to reflect cultural values and the cultural context in which the assaults occurred.

I think the debate on the framing of the two assaults is circling around and subsequently missing the main take-away: violence against women is endemic in the culture we all collectively share, and our corresponding collective level of outrage dwarfs in comparison. [click to continue…]

Screen shot 2013-01-08 at 12.03.52 PMNews from our colleagues at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence:

Last Wednesday night, President Obama signed the 2013 National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) into law. In the end, it included 19 amendments to significantly reform Department of Defense sexual assault and sexual harassment policies. This landmark bill has the largest number of sexual violence provisions ever signed into law.

Specific to sexual violence- the law now provides for: [click to continue…]

Screen shot 2013-01-03 at 11.23.47 AMCongress failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) this week, allowing the bill to expire for the first time since 1994. Funding for anti-violence programs throughout the country will continue on a temporary basis through March 2013. If this is not resolved by March, it could result in 200,000 fewer individuals receiving essential services nationwide.

From our colleagues at the National Alliance to End Sexual Violence:

While VAWA reauthorization legislation failed to pass, VAWA remains in effect. Funding for programs will not end now because VAWA was not reauthorized—VAWA programs can still be appropriated. But VAWA is the cornerstone of our nation’s commitment to end violence against women and each reauthorization of VAWA builds on the last to take the next critical steps in that response.  [click to continue…]

VAWA: “The cornerstone of our nation’s commitment to end violence against women”