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GOP Not Happy With Inclusion of Native American Women in the VAWA

To engage women voters, the left has thrown around phrases like “War on Women,” “the attack on women,” and even “Rick Perry Hates Women.” This rhetoric had every conservative fauxminist coming out pledging that the GOP respected and protected women despite an overwhelming of anti-choice and anti-marriage equality legislation.

Admittedly, it did seem a bit farcical and, obviously, sensational to accuse an entire political party of hating women. Women are in the GOP. Such as defender of civil rights Jan Brewer of Arizona, media darling Sarah Palin formerly of Fox News, legal genius Cathrynn Brown of New Mexico and Queen of Rage Michelle Bachmann of Minnesota. 

Nonetheless, blocking the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act is incredibly damning.

Officially, the VAWA expired in Sept. 2011; however, funding was allowed to continue until Sept. 2013.  This drafting of the VAWA is, historically, the most fully inclusive in that it now extends protection to same-sex couples, LGBT individuals, Native American women living on reservations and undocumented immigrants. 

Why is the reauthorization of this Act hotly contested? Oh, right. According to the GOP, the recognition of diversity and the protection from domestic and sexual violence should not go together. The House even passed its own (more watered down) measure that does not extend those services to those groups of people. Victims, actually. The GOP does not want protection extended to same-sex couples, or any LGBTQIA individuals for that matter. Apparently, only heterosexual people can be victims of intimate partner violence. Including these couples would, presumably, validate and equate those relationships with heterosexual couples. Preposterous. 

The GOP would rather prioritize a woman’s immigration status over her physical safety and that of her family. Imagine that conversation. A woman gathers enough courage to report her rape and instead of being asked about her well-being, the officer asks if she is in the United States legally. Would they send her away? Is her rape now unimportant?

The GOP, apparently, does not want to recognize American Indian women because… they… something about jurisdiction. Apparently, the biggest issue the GOP (and, especially, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia) has with the VAWA is the inclusion of Native American women. The GOP takes issue with protecting women who live on tribal reservations. The VAWA allows tribal leaders would have jurisdiction to prosecute perpetrators of domestic and sexual violence. Essentially, there will be an establishment of local control in regards to prosecution of offenders. This provision is truly the only way that Native American victims would receive justice considering that they do not have immediate access to the attorney general's office in their area.

It seems that the GOP is not willing to admit the epidemic levels of domestic abuse, sexual assault and rape Native American women face every day. The Department of Justice reports that 46% of Native American women "have experienced rape, physical violence, or stalking by an intimate partner," 1 out 3 Native American women will be raped in their lifetime and Native American women murdered 10x the national average. This is an epidemic. These women are already lacking services to protect them. They are already lack services to seek justice. Their rapes, murders, assaults will continue to be ignored in the VAWA dies. 

Whatever the twisted logic, the VAWA needs to be immediately reauthorized. American women, all American women, are holding breaths. On Tuesday, eight men blocked the reauthorization of the Violence of Against Women Act. One of them was freshman Senator Ted Cruz hailing from our great state. Not passing the VAWA is disgraceful yet the GOP is still scratching their heads as to why they lose heavily among women voters. Maybe they forgot that the creation of the Violence Against Women Act was a bipartisan effort. Why? Because violence against women does not discriminate among party lines. 

Though created by then senator Joe Biden, the Act has easily flown through both parties for reauthorization. This is not 1830. The GOP is not headed by Andrew Jackson anymore. They cannot ignore Native American women. Perhaps the GOP forget, but these women are American too. They deserve the same protection at Sally Sue living on Main Street in Suburbia, USA. 

That’ll do, GOP. That’ll do.