I grew up in Los Angeles, California. My parents, grandparents, and an uncle left Lewiston, Idaho, in 1952, in search of work. I was just about to have my 6th birthday when we arrived in Venice, where we found an inexpensive apartment. These were hard times. WWII had taken its toll on everyone. Jobs were scarce, and with men like my father and uncle recently discharged from military service, the numbers of men seeking employment increased dramatically. And, because the country had been existing on a wartime economy for more than four years, a move to refurbish plants and factories to conditions representative of a peacetime economy were slow in development.
We were very poor. Neither my mother or my father were able to find good jobs. We had a roof over our heads and enough food to help us survive. Like many others, we had little else. My mother and father began to fight every day. My father began to drink more and more. He was not a ‘happy’ drunk. The fighting increased and became physical. I began carrying dimes in my pocket so I could run to a phone booth and call the police. But when they came, the law at the time stated that they could not come inside unless my father invited them. He never did. For a little while, things would cool down, but the return of violence was inevitable, and it escalated.
In 1994, then Senator Joe Biden, authored a bill called the “Violence Against Women Act“. The bill gave authorities broader authority in the investigation and prosecution of acts of domestic violence. Before the law was enacted, most women found little reason to report abuse. Nothing, or very little, would be done about it.
This bill has been renewed by the House and Senate every five years since 1994. The Senate passed an amended version of it a couple of weeks ago. They included protection under the law for immigrant and native American women. A third of native American women are raped in their lifetime.
Last week the bill was in the House. This mostly Republican body of legislators did not vote against it. They just didn’t vote, period. (Another one for Boehner.)
From 1993-2010, reports of domestic abuse cases dropped 64%. Without this law, it is feared that many more women will be seeking shelters and be turned away due to lack of space. The Senate strongly felt that adding the two groups of women to protection under federal law was mandatory. We are an ever-changing nation. We must adapt to today’s conditions, and not retreat to acting as if we lived in the past.
Do not forget that the 112th congress was the most ineffective in our nation’s history. Only 239 bills were passed in two years, and many of those were merely rubber stamped laws that had little affect on the American public. The House is the guilty party in the majority of this inaction. The VAWA was an important one. Is there any reason why women should support the G.O.P.?