VAWA was originally passed by Congress in 1994, with Bill Clinton pushing the law as a payoff to the feminists for supporting his election as president. Joe Biden claims credit as a major sponsor and likes to say it is the legislation he is most proud of.
In its 17 years of operation, it has done little or no good for real victims of domestic violence, while its funds have been used to fill feminist coffers and to lobby for feminist objectives and laws. Although every spending bill should be subject to rigorous auditing procedures in order to curb waste and fraud, VAWA has somehow ducked accountability for the nearly billion dollars a year it doles out to radical feminist organizations.
Despite rigid feminist dogma that there are no gender differences, VAWA is totally grounded in feminist-created gender stereotypes. Starting with its title, Violence Against Women, its fundamental assumption is that men are naturally batterers and women are naturally victims.
In other words, men are always guilty, and women must always be believed without fear of being punished for perjury. VAWA assumes there is no violence against men, and it doesn't provide services for men who are victims of domestic violence.
The feminists have so broadened the definition of domestic violence that it doesn't have to be violent and can usually be whatever a woman alleges. Definitions of domestic violence include vague and overbroad concepts such as emotional distress, harassment, annoyance or merely unpleasant speech.
Feminist recipients of VAWAs handouts use the money to train legislators, judges and prosecutors in feminist ideology and goals. This has resulted in dozens of state laws calling for mandatory arrest (i.e., the police must arrest someone, so guess who) and no-drop prosecution (i.e., the man must be prosecuted even in the large percentage of cases where the woman has withdrawn her accusation or refuses to testify).
Instead of promoting divorce, breakup of marriage and hatred of men, VAWA should be revised to encourage counseling when appropriate and voluntary. Some VAWA money should be used for programs to help couples terminate use of illegal drugs and reduce the use of alcohol.
Phyllis Schlafly is a national leader of the pro-family movement, a nationally syndicated columnist and author of Feminist Fantasies.
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