Moran’s News Commentary: Reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act

March 13, 2013 7:10 PM1 comment

In March, we recognize the contributions of women to science, law, and culture. And there is much to celebrate, from the glass ceilings shattered by impressive women like Amelia Earhart, Rosa Parks, and Hillary Clinton to major legislation benefiting women passed in recent years.

Today, there are more women serving in the House of Representatives than ever before. On his first day in office, President Obama enacted the historic Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act to ensure the right of women and other workers to challenge unfair pay. And Democrats in Congress are working to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act to update the Equal Pay Act to provide more effective remedies to women who are not being paid equal wages for doing equal work.

This year, Women’s History Month began with reauthorization of an important law for millions of women in the U.S. On March 7, President Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) S.47, into law. This critically important legislation is being reauthorized to ensure that our nation’s mothers, sisters, daughters, and friends continue to receive resources that help keep them safe from harm. I am proud to be a cosponsor of the bill.

Severe domestic violence remains an all-too-common reality in the United States. Approximately 2.3 million people each year are raped or physically assaulted by a current or former spouse, boyfriend or girlfriend. Each day in America, three women are killed by a current or former intimate partner.

Since VAWA was first enacted in 1994, reporting of domestic violence has increased by as much as 51 percent, while the number of individuals killed by an intimate partner has decreased 34 percent for women and 57 percent for men. S. 47 reauthorizes this bill, strengthening it through inclusion of important reforms to ensure LGBT, Native American, and immigrant women receive the protections they deserve.

Specifically, the Senate bill ensures the availability of services to all victims of domestic and dating violence, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity. The bill also provides authority to Native American tribes to prosecute non-Indian perpetrators of domestic violence-related offenses. Finally, VAWA adds stalking to the list of crimes for which victims can receive protection through the U-Visa program.

While I applaud the passage of VAWA, its reauthorization took far too long. This bill passed the Senate last May, but Republican House leadership refused to bring it to the floor, instead wasting valuable time on an alternative version that deliberately omitted the new protections noted above. This delay allowed VAWA programs to expire at the end of 2012. It was not until early March that Speaker Boehner finally brought S. 47 up for a vote, and only after the House failed to pass his Republican alternate version.

With the programs established through the Violence Against Women Act, no man or woman should be afraid to report domestic or dating violence. Though it took several months, the version of VAWA signed into law Thursday will make our nation safer and better for all of those who live here.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100000589931407 Jerry Boggs

    Re: the Paycheck Fairness Act

    Here is just one of many reasons women average lower pay than men:

    “In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” http://www.ama-assn.org/amednews/2012/03/26/bil10326.htm

    Mind you, these are some of the most sophisticated, educated women in the country CHOOSING to earn less than their male counterparts in the exact same profession.

    A thousand laws won’t close that gap.

    In fact, no law yet has closed the gender wage gap — not the 1963 Equal Pay for Equal Work Act, not Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act, not the 1978 Pregnancy Discrimination Act, not affirmative action (which has benefited mostly white women, the group most vocal about the wage gap – http://tinyurl.com/74cooen), not the 1991 amendments to Title VII, not the 1991 Glass Ceiling Commission created by the Civil Rights Act, not the 1993 Family and Medical Leave Act, not diversity, not the countless state and local laws and regulations, not the thousands of company mentors for women, not the horde of overseers at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, and not the Ledbetter Fair Pay Act…. Nor will a “paycheck fairness” law work.

    That’s because women’s pay-equity advocates, who always insist one more law is needed, continue to overlook the effects of female AND male behavior:

    Despite the 40-year-old demand for women’s equal pay, millions of wives still choose to have no pay at all. In fact, according to Dr. Scott Haltzman, author of “The Secrets of Happily Married Women,” stay-at-home wives, including the childless who represent an estimated 10 percent, constitute a growing niche. “In the past few years,” he says in a CNN report at http://tinyurl.com/6reowj, “many women who are well educated and trained for career tracks have decided instead to stay at home.” (“Census Bureau data show that 5.6 million mothers stayed home with their children in 2005, about 1.2 million more than did so a decade earlier….” at http://tinyurl.com/qqkaka. If indeed a higher percentage of women is staying at home, perhaps it’s because feminists and the media have told women for years that female workers are paid less than men in the same jobs — so why bother working if they’re going to be penalized and humiliated for being a woman.)

    As full-time mothers or homemakers, stay-at-home wives earn zero. How can they afford to do this while in many cases living in luxury? Answer: Because they’re supported by their husband, an “employer” who pays them to stay at home. (Far more wives are supported by a spouse than are husbands.)

    The implication of this is probably obvious to most 12-year-olds but seems incomprehensible to or is ignored by feminists and the liberal media: If millions of wives are able to accept NO wages, millions of other wives, whose husbands’ incomes vary, are more often able than husbands to:

    -accept low wages

    -refuse overtime and promotions

    -choose jobs based on interest first, wages second — the reverse of what men tend to do

    -take more unpaid days off

    -avoid uncomfortable wage-bargaining (http://tinyurl.com/3a5nlay)

    -work part-time instead of full-time (“In 2011, 22% of male physicians and 44% of female physicians worked less than full time, up from 7% of men and 29% of women from Cejka’s 2005 survey.” These are some of the most sophisticated, educated women in the country CHOOSING to earn less than their male counterparts in the exact same profession. http://tinyurl.com/7la747z)

    Any one of these job choices lowers women’s median pay relative to men’s. And when a wife makes one of the choices, her husband often must take up the slack.

    Women are able to make these choices because they are supported — or, if unmarried, anticipate being supported — by a husband who must earn more than if he’d chosen never to marry. (Still, even many men who shun marriage, unlike their female counterparts, feel their self worth is tied to their net worth.) This is how MEN help create the wage gap: as a group they tend more than women to pass up jobs that interest them for ones that pay well.

    Note: To my knowledge, unemployed stay-at-home wives are not factored into women’s average wage. Shouldn’t they be? Since they voluntarily work for zero wages, factoring them in — assigning each zero earnings — would perhaps give a more realistic measure of women’s average wage.

    Much more in “Will the Ledbetter Act Help Women?” at http://malemattersusa.wordpress.com/2011/12/03/will-the-ledbetter-fair-pay-act-help-women/

Facebook Iconfacebook like buttonTwitter Icontwitter follow buttonGoogle+Google+