In January, President George W. Bush signed the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act without public debate, even though evidence has surfaced that Congress should have examined before the law was extended.
The act, which costs nearly $1 billion per year, is one of the major ways former President Bill Clinton bought the support of radical feminists. Why Republicans passed this bill is a mystery. It's unlikely that the feminists who will spend all that money will ever vote Republican.
Passage of the Violence Against Women Act was a major priority of the American Bar Association for whose members it is a cash cow. More than 300 courts have implemented specialized docket processes to address the cases stemming from the act, more than 1 million women have obtained protection orders from the courts, and more than 660 new state laws pertaining to domestic violence have been passed, all of which produce profitable work for lawyers.
A recently issued ABA document called "Tool for Attorneys" provides lawyers with a list of suggestive questions to encourage their clients to make domestic-violence charges. Knowing that a woman can get a restraining order against the father of her children in an ex parte proceeding without any evidence, and that she will never be punished for lying, domestic-violence accusations have become a major tactic for securing sole child custody.
Voluminous documentation to dispel the feminist myths that created and have perpetuated the act are spelled out in seven reports just issued by an organization called Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting, or RADAR, and in an 80-page report called "Family Violence in America" published by the American Coalition for Fathers & Children.
For example, it is a shocker to discover that acts don't have to be violent to be punished under the definition of domestic violence. Name-calling, put-downs, shouting, negative looks or gestures, ignoring opinions, or constant criticizing can all be legally labeled domestic violence.
The ABA report states flatly: "Domestic violence does not necessarily involve physical violence." The feminists' mantra is, "You don't have to be beaten to be abused."
Advocates of the Violence Against Women Act assert that domestic violence is a crime, yet family courts often adjudicate domestic violence as a civil (not a criminal) matter. This enables courts to deny the accused all Bill of Rights and due process protections that are granted to even the most heinous of criminals.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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