week in Review 9/21/2018
The Violence Against Women's Act (VAWA) was set to expire next week - the same week that Christine Blasey Ford may testify before the Senate's Judiciary Committee regarding her sexual assault complaint against SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh.
The passage of VAWA in 1994 changed the landscape for victims who once suffered in silence. Since its passage, victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking have been able to access services.A new generation of families and justice system professionals has come to understand that this will no longer be tolerated in our society.
In 2013, the bill's reauthorization gave colleges more tools to educate students about dating violence and sexual assault.
This year, VAWA faced GOP objections. At the last minute, Congress attached it to a spending bill to keep the government running and the GOP was forced to vote for a temporary extension of VAWA through December 7th.
"A short-term VAWA reauthorization in the must-pass minibus spending bill is nothing short of an abdication of our responsibilities to women in our country," said House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-CA).
For decades, the public ignored or ridiculed claims of harassment or assault. Harvey Weinstein, Matt Lauer, Les Moonves, amongst others, and the MeToo# movement appears to have made it harder to ignore these claims.
But in a national poll of 1,000 women conducted by TIME magazine, 60% of the women surveyed felt the environment for women in their workplace had not changed and 51% say they are no more likely to report sexual harassment now than before.
Now, 27 years after Anita Hill testified against Justice Clarence Thomas, Ford will tell her story before that same committee. Little has changed since then. Congress still can't coalesce around vital funds to help victims deal with sexual assault and violence, and women still suffer under the label of accuser.
Will the Senate be tone-deaf as they were in 1991 and confirm Kavanaugh? Will misogynistic behavior finally be deemed unacceptable? Women across the country will be watching the Senate. The election is around the corner. Change will only come if we vote. Elections Matter.