By EOM Staff
House Republicans recently presented a watered down version of the Violence Against Women Act for approval. Remember, this act was approved in 1994 for the purpose of providing criminal justice to female victims of violence (we are the majority of victims of violent crimes), and to provide education and better prepared responses to domestic violence. It has been overwhelmingly approved each time it has come up for renewal. That is, until this year.
Republicans didn’t like the expanded version of the act, which would have provided protection for LGBT victims, Native American victims, illegal immigrant victims and even mail order brides who become victims. Apparently, these women don’t deserve any kind of justice or protection.
I wonder how many men have hurried through a dark parking lot, nervous and looking over their shoulder, trying to get to their car as quickly as possible. Do many men check the back seats of their cars before getting in? How many men quickly lock the doors as soon as they are in their car? These are things that are habits for women. I wonder how many men wait for an abusive wife to come home and beat them up? Not many, I don’t suppose. 1 of 7 American women will be the victim of a rape or attempted rape during her life. 1 of 3 American women will be the victim of a violent attack during her life. Can’t say the same for men.
If violence against women is ever going to be curtailed, we need the force of law to help us defend ourselves. Don’t these Republicans know that they are denying protection to their own wives, daughters, sisters and mothers?
Then there’s the matter of contraception. While most women think it’s nobody’s business but theirs, there are many laws being passed that restrict birth control. The most bizarre one is the proposal that would allow an employer to deny women contraception coverage even if the employer has no moral or religious objection to it. These male politicians (83% of Congress is male), should not be deciding what is best for women. Do they believe we are not intelligent enough to make our own decisions? Do they think we have no moral compass? We are adults, and we know better than men what it means to bear and raise children. Women spend an average of 30 years of their lives trying to prevent pregnancy. Consider the financial burden of that if your insurance doesn’t cover it.
Now we have politicians trying (and succeeding, I’m afraid) to limit access to safe and legal abortions. Apparently, we need to be punished for making the difficult decision to end a pregnancy. I can’t imagine anything more humiliating that a trans-vaginal ultrasound being required prior to undergoing a legal procedure. Their mind-set seems to be “you have sinned, now we must humiliate you.” As usual, it is the woman who has “sinned”, with no burden placed on the man who sinned with her. Makes me wonder if Mr. Limbaugh would have us all wear a scarlet “S” (he thinks we’re sluts, you know) on our clothes.
And just a few days ago, the Republicans voted down the Fair Pay Act. Men are supposedly better at math than women. Why don’t they understand that getting paid .77 to every 1.00 they earn for the same work isn’t fair? With this kind of wage gap, how can women support all the babies they’ll be having if these male politicians have their way?
And the battle over President Obama’s health care plan is still to be resolved. Maybe these politicians don’t realize that in some states it’s legal to charge a woman up to 80% more for insurance than a man. Mind you, women in these states are paying more for insurance, while making less for the same work. Doesn’t make sense, does it? The responsibility for birth control falls to women 99% of the time. Thirty years of birth control costs, while earning less for the same work. I guess having ovaries is a “pre-existing” condition that makes this practice acceptable.
A hundred plus years ago, men ruled over women. They owned the property, we couldn’t. They served on juries, we couldn’t. They could vote, we couldn’t. Women needed to be “guided” by a firm masculine hand. Our mothers’ and grandmothers’ generations tolerated that. This is a new generation of women. The party is over, boys. You’ve started a war. If you want peace in your lives again, it’s time to draw up a truce. One where women control their own lives, not you and not the politicians.
To quote from Madeleine Kunin, first and only female Governor of Vermont, “if you persist in fighting women on these fronts, it shouldn’t surprise you to learn that, especially in an election year, you end up looking and sounding stupid.”
Pay attention, guys. More women than men voted in the 2008 presidential election. And there will be even more this year. Get your act together and start fighting for the rights of the women in your lives. We won’t go back to the way it used to be.