Forget the VAWA where’s the Violence Against Women Laws?

 

Table via RAINN.org
References
Justice Department, National Crime Victimization Survey: 2006-2010
FBI, Uniform Crime Reports: 2006-2010
National Center for Policy Analysis, Crime and Punishment in America, 1999
Department of Justice, Felony Defendents in Large Urban Counties: average of 2002-2006

 

I think it’s time to introduce a new conspiracy theory.

Mine involves the Violence Against Women’s Act that was signed by President Bill Clinton in 1994. The Act is a U.S. federal law that established the Office on Violence Against Women and provided $1.6 billion to fund it as well as other programs:

  • Community violence prevention programs
  • Protections for victims who are evicted from their homes because of events related to domestic violence or stalking
  • Funding for victim assistance services, like rape crisis centers and hotlines
  • Programs to meet the needs of immigrant women and women of different races or ethnicities
  • Programs and services for victims with disabilities
  • Legal aid for survivors of violence – source: Wikipedia

These “programs” don’t seem to address the violence against women. Instead, the money is spent on programs that occur AFTER women have been violently attacked and appear to do nothing to the perpetrator. Sure, the “Violence Against Women Act,” sounds good, but how about if we actually just institute Violence Against Women LAWS? Specifically, make violent crime based on gender bias a federal hate crime and institute tougher sentences and stiffer punishments.

But wait, “gender bias” is already covered under the federal hate crime statutes under the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act:

The Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, enacted in 28 U.S.C. § 994 note Sec. 280003, requires the United States Sentencing Commission to increase the penalties for hate crimes committed on the basis of the actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, ethnicity, or gender of any person.

 As a side note, when The Violence Against Women Act was first drafted, it included a female victim’s ability to seek  “compensatory and punitive damages, injunctive and declaratory relief, and such other relief as a court may deem appropriate.” [Does it seem odd that Congress provided that women could sue for “damages?”] Seriously? Do they think that a woman that has been violently raped can put a price on it and then file a civil lawsuit against the monster who destroyed her life? The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that portion unconstitutional, stating simply that Congress doesn’t have the authority to make someone pay.

So in the nearly 20 years since the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act was made into law, how many offenders have been prosecuted? ZERO

Without going back over the years, take just the FBI’s 2010 Hate Crime Statistics: Of the 6,624 single bias incidents, 47.3 percent were motivated by a racial bias, 20.0 percent were motivated by a religious bias, 19.3 percent were motivated by a sexual orientation bias, and 12.8 percent were motivated by an ethnicity/national origin bias. Bias against a disability accounted for 0.6 percent of single-bias incidents.”

Where is gender bias in the statistics? There were no crimes against women based on gender bias? What about the recent death of Whitney Hiechel, a young wife that was on her way to work when she disappeared. Her dead body was found with multiple gunshot wounds 40 miles from her home. Her neighbor, a married man, has been charged with aggravated murder.

The body of 10 year-old Jessica Ridgeway was found dismembered. Austin Reed Sigg has been charged. Parts of the young girl’s body were found in crawl spaces under Sigg’s home. He was also charged with an assault earlier this year against a female hiker. Is this crime based on gender?

According to the FBI Crime Statistics, more than 83,000 rapes were reported in 2011. The Rape, Abuse & Incest National Network (RAINN) states that more than 200,000 sexual assaults happen annually.

The Conspiracy Theory: If the U.S. DOJ prosecutes even one case of rape as a federal hate crime, it will inundated with prosecutions and hate crime penalties. Someone thinks that women aren’t worth the cost. So instead, “gender bias” crimes are just swinging in the wind with no one willing to step up and make the first move. They probably think we haven’t even noticed.

It’s time for the U.S. to take a position on violence against women. Women have a right to be free in the U.S., free from harm. Contact your local representative and don’t stop speaking about this issue.

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