By Jueseppi B.
Want to know why the Violence Against Women Act has gone nowhere in Congress? Because Congress is filled with people like Representative John “Jimmy” Duncan, Jr (R-TN).
Yesterday, during an interview about the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), Rep. Duncan said that “like most men, I’m more opposed to violence against women than even violence against men, because most men can handle it a little better than a lot of women can.”
What?!? Abuse is wrong, no matter who the target is. Being protected from a violent partner doesn’t make a woman weak. Period.
Comments like this promote the very dangerous idea that some people don’t need protection, and that those who do are somehow weak. Rep Duncan’s comments are offensive, sexist and ignorant and they are disturbingly reminiscent of the attitudes Representatives Todd Akin and Richard Mourdock showed towards women last year with their comments about rape.
Even worse, Rep. Duncan says he isn’t sure whether he’ll support reauthorization of VAWA. Speaker John Boehner must make sure Rep. Duncan apologizes immediately on the House floor, and then Rep. Duncan must show he’s serious about protecting all people from abuse by signing on as a cosponsor of the expanded Violence Against Women Act now. These comments were published in the press late yesterday and a firestorm is beginning to develop. When elected officials say dangerous and offensive things, they must be held accountable–otherwise we’ll never make progress on important issues like VAWA. If all of us add our names right now, we can make sure he makes this right–but we need to act quickly. Can you sign the petition?
Rep. Duncan’s comments are not just offensive, they’re also dangerous. While conservatives in the House continue to block VAWA, shelters, domestic violence hotlines and other key service providers are left to wonder how long they’ll be able to keep their doors open. Domestic violence is a real problem in this country–three women die each day at the hands of an intimate partner.
Over the past two decades, this life-saving law has been expanded every time it’s come up for renewal. Those expansions have never been controversial until last year when the Tea Party-controlled House blocked it from passing over new protections for the most underserved communities. Now, extremists in the House are continuing to block the bill while countless women’s lives are hanging in the balance.
Here are just a few of the ways that VAWA has helped to curb domestic violence:
- Strengthened federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and created a federal “rape shield law,” which prevents offenders from using survivors’ past sexual conduct against them at trial.
- Trained over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges every year to ensure they understand the realities of domestic and sexual violence.
- Established the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has answered over 3 million calls and receives over 22,000 calls every month; 92% of callers report that it’s their first call for help.
And the results have been clear–since 1994 when it passed, domestic violence has declined 67%.
Rep. Duncan’s comments show just how out of touch he is with women, and with the reality of domestic violence. Can you sign the petition urging him to apologize, and show that he’s serious about protecting all people from abuse by signing on as a cosponsor of the Violence Against Women Act?
Thanks for speaking out,
Nita, Shaunna, Kat, and Karin, the UltraViolet team
1. John Duncan On VAWA: Most Men Can Handle Violence Better Than Most Women, Huffington Post, February 19, 2013
3. John Duncan On VAWA: Most Men Can Handle Violence Better Than Most Women, Huffington Post, February 19, 2013
4. The Violence Against Women Act is on life support, Washington Post, Jan 25, 2013
6. Leahy, Crapo Reintroduce Bipartisan Bill To Reauthorize The Landmark Violence Against Women Act, Senator Leahy Press Release, January 22, 2013
The Violence Against Women Act is on life support, Washington Post, Jan 25, 2013
This message was sent to Jueseppi B. by Nita and Shaunna, UltraViolet from the SignOn.org system. MoveOn.org Civic Action sponsors SignOn.org