“I am furious,” said Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”
The political climate is hurting benefits for women that many had worked hard to put in place a long time ago. The Violence Against Women Act–important legislation established in 1994–was widely bipartisan, and is now being threatened by conservatives. This law would increase financing for, and enable domestic violence programs to serve many more victims of violence, who are currently without resources.
“The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.” NYTimes, J Weisman, March 14, 2012
Senator Dianne Feinstein (CA), states, “This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.”
It helps to know that Senate Democratic women are not taking it lightly. They plan to march to the Senate floor with their demands to support the extension of the Violence Against Women Act sometime this week. Let’s follow their lead by speaking up, taking a stand, and backing our beliefs when it’s time to vote.