Tuesday, January 15, 2013

women's congress?

the good news about the 113th u.s. congress?
a record number of women — 80 representatives + 20 senators —
were sworn in as members earlier this month
as a result of last november's election.

the bad news about the 113th u.s. congress?
i know, i know — there's a saddening bad-news smorgasbord from which to choose,
but the bad news i'm referring to is that despite the above-mentioned good news,
the violence against women act died.

for the first time in 19 years, the vawa doesn't exist
because the u.s. house of representatives failed to pass its renewal.
house republicans, it seems, didn't want to extend protection to
immigrants, the lgbt community or native americans.

co-written by a democrat & a republican, the vawa targets domestic violence.
& though about 85% of the victims of domestic violence happen to be women,
the law protects across the board, regardless of gender.
it includes measures that:

:: support investigation & prosecution of violent crimes;
:: impose automatic & mandatory restitution on those convicted;
:: permit civil redress in cases prosecutors choose not to persue;
:: provide legal assistance for victims;
:: provide housing assistance for victims;
:: fund family shelters & outreach groups;
:: fund community programs dedicated to fighting violence;
:: educate police about the signs of domestic violence,
how to interpret crime scenes & witness testimony; &
:: help prevent elder abuse.

the vawa was first passed in 1994, & was readily renewed in 2000 & 2005.
here's hoping our more-womanly-than-ever congress
gets 'er done — with protection for all americans —
again here in 2013.

image source: the house women democrats, 1.3.2013, via upi.

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