While Congress considers new infringements on constitutional rights for a new Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), they overlook where the most violence is occurring. The New York Times recently featured an exposé about how nearly every woman is raped during their migration from Central America to our open southern border.
Shutting the border is the only way that the United States can protect those women. That would take away the incentive for the long, dangerous journey.
Yet House Democrats want nothing of that remedy to stop violence against women. Instead, Democrats push for more infringements on the rights of Americans as part of a proposed new VAWA.
In their subcommittee hearing on March 7, House Democrats were uninterested in the terrible violence against women resulting from their insistence on an open southern border. The minority Republicans were allowed to invite only one witness, and she did not address the violence among migrants either.
An organization called Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE) has proposed numerous sensible reforms to the now-expired VAWA law, which was causing more harm than good. For starters, the prior law lacked a clear, appropriate definition of what it even meant when it referred to violence against women.
The Obama Administration defined domestic violence very broadly to include conduct that was not violent at all, such as alleged economic, emotional, or psychological abuse. Fortunately, the Department of Justice in the Trump Administration has sensibly clarified the meaning of domestic violence to include only conduct that would be a felony or misdemeanor if charged as a crime.
Inclusion of non-violent behavior then becomes a means for grabbing guns from men, and imposing automatic sentences in prison if they are found to have any guns. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham announced last week that his committee will hold a hearing on March 26 on “red flag” laws, which give government special power to seize and confiscate guns from individuals whom someone thinks might be dangerous.
The First Amendment is at risk, too, in this planned reauthorization of VAWA. Proposed expansions to the law include authorizing federal monitoring of internet communications, under the guise of punishing cyber stalking and so-called bullying.
That could result in censorship of the internet as prosecutions are brought against communications which the federal agents might consider to be inappropriate. The freewheeling online environment that makes it so popular could be chilled by a new VAWA.
Even President Trump’s colorful tweets against the women who are vying for the Democratic nomination to run against him might be considered cyberbullying, depending on how VAWA is rewritten. Robert Mueller might need to be recalled into service to do a new investigation into tweeting by Trump and his supporters.
Liberal women attempt to make VAWA a women’s issue, but in fact intimate partner violence against men is comparable in frequency to violence against women, according to a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey (NISVS). More importantly, domestic violence has been decreasing for decades, prior to the billions of dollars of handouts by VAWA to feminist groups.
One’s home with a spouse has always been the safest place for both men and women, and spousal murder is very rare. Yet VAWA trained workers to separate domestic couples, and file a complaint against men which often causes them to lose their jobs and their employability.
Women, once their partner is going to lose his job that supported both of them, then try to stop the harmful VAWA process and withdraw the accusations. But laws make that impossible, such that the women are greatly harmed by the loss in the men’s jobs that VAWA causes.
The abusive “ex parte” court orders under VAWA, which are issued without the man being in court to defend himself against false accusations, would probably expand under a new VAWA. Recall how late-night comedian David Letterman discovered in 2005 that a woman in Sante Fe had obtained a restraining order against him.
The woman insisted that Letterman had used code words on his television show to communicate that he wanted to marry her, and have her become his co-host. She said Letterman had been mentally cruel to her and caused her to endure sleep deprivation for more than a decade.
A New Mexico state judge granted the woman’s demand for an ex parte restraining order, and it became a humorous topic for Letterman’s show. His attorneys were able to reverse the court order, but most men do not have the luxury of time, money, and influence that a television celebrity has.
Perhaps VAWA should be considered under a new name that more accurately describes how it infringes on First and Second Amendment rights, in addition to turning women against men. How about calling it the “Violence Against Constitutional Rights Act”?
John and Andy Schlafly are sons of Phyllis Schlafly (1924-2016) and lead the continuing Phyllis Schlafly Eagles organizations with writing and policy work.