The Violence Against Women Act, delayed from the last Congress because of Republican intransigence, is being considered again in the Senate. Not unanimously, though: 8 GOP Senators voted “nay.” It’s sickening that these men would vote against even considering a bill that protects all women. But I guess it really points out their ugliness and misogyny.
These Senators – Ted Cruz (R-TX), Mike Lee (R-UT), Tim Scott (R-SC), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Mike Johanns (R-NE), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), and James Risch (R-ID) – are the ones who voted “no” on protecting immigrant women, LGBT women and Native American women. Because, you know, they are not as deserving of protection, not being “real” women and all. But that’s not really all of the issue, is it? You know there is always something underhanded to their ploys.
Oh, here we go. It seems that the Department of Justice issued a proposal in July of 2011 that would give the tribes’ law enforcement jurisdiction over domestic violence cases regardless (aha!) “… of whether the defendant is Indian or non-Indian.” What this means is that if a non-Indian rapes or assaults an Indian woman, the tribal police and courts will be able to hold those men responsible for their crimes. According to the press release:
- Clarifying that tribal courts have full civil jurisdiction to issue and enforce protection orders involving any persons, Indian or non-Indian — confirming the intent of Congress in enacting the Violence Against Women Act of 2000.
- Providing more robust federal sentences for certain acts of domestic violence in Indian Country: a 10-year offense for assaulting a spouse, intimate partner or dating partner by strangling, suffocating or attempting to strangle or suffocate; a five-year offense for assaulting a spouse, intimate partner or dating partner, resulting in substantial bodily injury; and a one-year offense for assaulting a person by striking, beating or wounding.
- Violence against American Indian women occurs at epidemic rates. Research reveals that one-third of Native women will be raped during their lifetimes, and nearly 3 out of 5 have been assaulted by their spouses or intimate partners.
So there you have it. When you understand that 56% of Indian women have non-Indian husbands you start to see the light. How dare those Injuns have any jurisdiction over white men? The Congress – I’m including the GOP House members who killed this last year – is more concerned with the perpetrators of attacks on Indian women than it is with the victims. I know – shocking, isn’t it?
Think Progress guest blogger Erik Stegman summed it up in his article about this last December:
The Senate version of VAWA would end jurisdictional black holes that give non-Native men a free pass to abuse Native women and evade justice. It would provide local tribal law enforcement with the much-needed ability to investigate and prosecute crimes against Native women in their own communities, just as other state and local authorities do for other victims in the country. Prosecuting these crimes requires sensitive and time-consuming work with family and community members. Tribal prosecutors are down the street on the reservation and work closely with the tribal police who respond to these crimes. Restoring local control will provide the victim, the family, and the community the ability to seek responsive justice locally. There’s no reason that their ability to fully prosecute these crimes should rest on the skin color of the accused abuser. (source)
So that’s it. Those eight Senators – and the House Republicans who will undoubtedly vote the same way (assuming that the VAWA even makes it there) – do not care about women. Their sympathies lie with the violent men who would be finally held responsible for their actions. One need only extrapolate that this is also why they oppose covering immigrant and LGBT women. Who can blame men for beating such worthless human beings, right? I am outraged on behalf of those women, my sisters. But I am doubly outraged for my Sisters of the Indian Nations. It’s not enough to steal their land and their children and make them live in poverty. They would also deny them protection and the right to see the men who attack them face justice. It’s despicable but not at all surprising that some men still think that men are exalted creatures while women are base and unworthy. You’d think they would join the rest of us in the 21st century… but they won’t and they are determined to drag us back to theirs.
T. Steelman is a life-long Liberal. She has been writing online about politics since 2007. She lives in Western Washington with her husband, daughter, 2 cats and a small herd of alpacas. How can anybody be enlightened? Truth is, after all, so poorly lit…