Violence Against Women Act

Tom DeLay: Violence Against Women Act Protects 'Sexual Deviance'

Former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay, who is currently out on bail while appealing his three year prison sentence in his corruption case, took the time to join Rick Scarborough on a March 7th Tea Party Unity conference call where he criticized the Violence Against Women Act.

He attacked the law because it “includes homosexuality, transgender; setting up all kinds of different classes of sexual deviance,” and later called it “unconstitutional.”

While they were having a meeting with the Values Action Team, which is reaching out to those values organizations, in the same week they passed the Senate’s Violence Against Women Act that includes homosexuality, transgender; setting up all kinds of different classes of sexual deviance. It’s just absolutely amazing that they did that. They fashioned a rule so it would be easier to pass the Senate bill, which is a wacko leftist bill. We as groups need to understand that that’s happening and reach out to the members of the House and the Senate and tell them enough is enough.



This is how we took over the House for the first time in forty years in 1994’s election is that for five years we spent five years providing alternatives to everything the Democrats were doing: alternative bills, alternative amendments, alternative press releases. We expressed ourselves by always having an alternative. The same here, if there is a Violence Against Women Act there should be a conservative alternative. First and foremost, they should point out the fact the whole act itself is unconstitutional.

DeLay insisted that conservatives need to “rebuild our infrastructure” in order to win elections again, by establishing new groups to “hold the media accountable” and creating “an outside organization that is focused on taking over our schools.”

We are desperate for a media operation to hold the media accountable. We need an outside group, formal group that reflects the left’s Media Matters, that’s a group that takes their message and drives it through the media, we desperately need something like that. We need an outside organization that is focused on taking over our schools. The left has our school systems and our universities and we’re doing nothing to take our schools back.

We need an infrastructure, a conservative infrastructure that fills the voids in politics, that holds the media accountable, that holds our schools accountable, that holds our churches accountable, we have Vision America that is trying to do that and other groups that are trying to do that, we desperately need that infrastructure if we’re going to win this. The other side has an infrastructure, that’s why they’re winning right now and we desperately need to rebuild the conservative movement and rebuild our infrastructure.

Charisma: Laws Protecting Gays from Domestic Violence Part of Anti-God Agenda

Charisma news editor Jennifer LeClaire, who has warned about the perils of gay demon rape and superheroes, today is upset that the reauthorized version of the Violence Against Women Act included LGBT protections.

She claims that President Obama “will stop at nothing to push the gay agenda down our throats,” urging people to ask God to “help us push back the wickedness that’s pushing against His kingdom on earth.”

Women everywhere celebrated when President Barack Obama reauthorized the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. The landmark 1994 law aims to curb domestic abuse. But Obama snuck the gay agenda into the mix.

“All persons must be protected from violence, but codifying the classifications ‘sexual orientation’ and ‘gender identity’ as contained in S. 47 is problematic,” the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops wrote. “These two classifications are unnecessary to establish the just protections due to all persons. They undermine the meaning and importance of sexual difference.”



President Obama is proving that in his second term he will stop at nothing to push the gay agenda down our throats despite a family-friendly stance during his first presidential campaign. Now, President Bill Clinton is helping him, writing a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court suggesting the anti-gay marriage bill he signed into law in 1996 is unconstitutional and should be overturned.

You might expect politicians to waffle on issues where new research becomes available to enlighten us. Even preachers get new revelation on old truths that changes the way they look at Scripture. But it’s troubling when a president’s core values change in a matter of a few years from standing against gay marriage to doing everything in his political power to force the minority view on the majority who stand for traditional values, even going so far as to piggyback the agenda on an issue with widespread support (violence against women).

Continue to pray for our president. The Bible says a double-minded man is unstable in all his ways (see James 1:8). Some may say that our president isn’t double-minded at all, that he always planned to push the gay agenda during his second term. Only God knows. And only God can help us push back the wickedness that’s pushing against His kingdom on earth. Don’t stop praying. And don’t stop speaking out. Amen.

Schlafly: 'We Need to Train the Men' to 'Stand Up to the Feminists'

Eagle Forum founder Phyllis Schlafly spoke earlier this week to Sandy Rios of the American Family Association about the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which Schlafly called a “terrible” law that “would have been an excellent place to cut” spending. She lamented that “Republicans are just scared by the feminists” when “they ought to stand up and show how really vicious they are.”

Schlafly: It’s a terrible bill. At this time when we’re talking about the sequester and trying to cut here and there, that would have been an excellent place to cut.

Rios: You know I’m sure that you’ve heard Phyllis that Eric Cantor, it’s been reported by conservative Republican aides that in a private meeting he threatened conservatives that there would be civil war if they didn’t allow this to be brought out on the floor for a vote. They are so concerned that the press and the country is going to think they don’t like women because they’ve been so burned through the last campaign. If they had listened to you what would you have said to them about that?

Schlafly: Well the Violence Against Women Act was a payoff to the feminists for endorsing Bill Clinton and the Republicans are just scared by the feminists, which is very unfortunate, they ought to stand up and show how really vicious they are.

At the end of the interview, she told Rios that “we need to train the men” how to fight feminists: “It isn’t natural for men to fight women and it’s just very hard for the men to stand up to the feminists” and their “many nutty ideas.”

Schlafly: We need to train the men. It isn’t natural for men to fight women and it’s just very hard for the men to stand up to the feminists. But the feminists control the Obama administration and they have so many nutty ideas. They’ve been trying to tell us that there really isn’t any difference between the genders, they are interchangeable, but then when it comes to the matter of domestic violence they enforce all these stereotypes and it’s just so wrong.

CWA: Violence Against Women Act Is Part of the War on Women

It was only last year that Concerned Women for America CEO Penny Nance criticized the term “war on women” as “phony, focus-grouped rhetoric” geared to “raise money and hackles” among Democrats. She predicted that women would turn on Obama and wouldn't vote on issues such as abortion rights or birth control access (unless they are anti-choice). Of course, exit polls showed that Obama carried women voters over Romney 55-44% and that 59% of voters said abortion should be legal either in all or most cases.

So it should come as no surprise that Nance is now using the “war” rhetoric in her latest Washington Times op-ed: “When high-sounding legislation becomes a war against women.” That’s right, she now believes that there is in fact a war on women, but that it comes from supporters of the Violence Against Women Act.

She claims that VAWA “hurts sex-trafficking victims,” even though 93 Senators voted for Sen. Patrick Leahy’s amendment focused on combating the trafficking of women and girls.

The Violence Against Women Act headed to the president’s desk lulls Americans into believing that actual violence was addressed Thursday when, in reality, Congress pushed through a bad bill that hurts sex-trafficking victims, seeks to legalize prostitution for minors and fails to protect the consciences of organizations, such as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, that oppose abortion but want to protect trafficking victims.
Within the Senate version of the act is an amendment by Sen. Patrick J. Leahy, Vermont Democrat, that decimates the Office to Monitor and Combat Trafficking in Persons, seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors, and assaults the conscience protections of groups that have a history of hands-on help for these victims.

The Violence Against Women Act also promotes the decriminalization of prostitution of minors for states, which is also dangerous for trafficking victims. Decriminalization provides a perfect opportunity for pimps, traffickers and gangs to exploit minors in the sex industry by telling the minors that it is not illegal and that they will not get arrested. In Germany, Australia and the Netherlands, child prostitution increased after prostitution was legalized. Why would the outcome be any different here if states decriminalize prostitution for minors? Section 1243 seeks to change the Model State Law to promote the decriminalization of prostitution for minors:
It prohibits the charging of a minor for a prostitution offense. This removes all judicial discretion from the process.
The FBI’s Uniform Crime Report shows that there were only 895 arrests of minors for prostitution in 2010. In 2011, the number of arrests dropped to 763. Over the past seven years, arrests of minors for prostitution have averaged 1,067 annually.
Decriminalization provides a great recruiting tool for gangs, pimps and traffickers, who can say, “Don’t worry; it’s not illegal.”

The lesson Congress has learned from the “war on women” apparently is that as long as the title of the legislation sounds good, you must vote for it — even if it is bad policy.

False Inconsistency: Jerry Boykin, VAWA, and Women in Combat

The Family Research Council's Jerry Boykin was the guest on "WallBuilders Live" today for a discussion of the Pentagon's recent decision to lift the ban on women serving in combat.  Not surprisingly, Boykin opposes the idea, wondering why the Obama Administration would approve this change even as Congress was working to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, claiming "there is such an inconsistency here":

The Congress, the Senate at least, passed the Violence Against Women Act which was designed to protect our women. Now it had some flaws in it, so we don't support it ... but it's violence against women, protect our women.

Now with this decision by Leon Panetta and the President, what we're doing is we're saying 'now you ladies, fix your bayonets, we're going to send you right into hand-to-hand combat with these men that are physically more capable than you in most cases and they're going to try to kill you.'  There is such an inconsistency here.

PFAW: House Passage of VAWA Proves ‘Enough is Enough’

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today commended the House passage of a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which House Republicans had allowed to expire at the beginning of this year.

Marge Baker, Executive Vice President of People For the American Way, said:

“Today’s historic expansion of the Violence Against Women Act shows what Americans can do when we stand up to extremism and say ‘enough is enough.’ For 18 years, VAWA has saved lives, dramatically reducing intimate partner violence, helping women to escape abusive relationships and ensuring that domestic violence is treated like the crime it is. Now, the law will be even stronger, protecting at-risk groups who have too often slipped through the cracks of domestic violence prevention efforts.

“When extremists in the House GOP tried to bring down the Violence Against Women Act, Americans stopped them in their tracks. I hope this vote shows that the House Republican leadership is rethinking its embrace of dangerous extremism and destructive gridlock.”
 

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Senate Passes Violence Against Women Act

Of all the irresponsible obstruction engaged in by the GOP over the last four years, none is as glaringly reprehensible as the Republican campaign to block reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act.
PFAW

Ever Classy, FRC Says VAWA's Cost to Taxpayers Is the 'Real Abuse'

Last night, the Senate voted overwhelmingly to proceed on a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, despite strong opposition from the Religious Right. But as the legislation moves to the House, the fight is far from over. The Family Research Council has joined Religious Right activists and organizations including Phyllis Schlafly, Gary Bauer, Concerned Women For America, the Southern Baptist Convention, in opposing the reauthorization because it includes new provisions protecting LGBT people, immigrants and Native Americans. In an email alert last night, the FRC denied the positive impact of VAWA, which has contributed to a dramatic decrease in intimate partner violence, and said that the “real abuse” is VAWA’s cost to taxpayers.

Last year, when it first came up for reauthorization, Democrats intentionally loaded the bill with provisions the GOP cannot support--like millions more in spending and special rights based on certain sexual behavior. Their goal was to make the legislation so objectionable that Republicans would be forced to oppose it and fuel the lie that the GOP is anti-woman. Sen. Pat Leahy's (D-Vt.) version, which leaders will vote on this week, is a five-year extension of the Act. Among the bill's most egregious parts is a provision that would ban funds to grantees who may have religious objections to homosexuality--even if no documented case of refused services has been found. It also includes special assistance for homosexual victims.

Although Sen. Leahy promises to have a 60-vote block of support, FRC has warned the Senate that we will be scoring the vote. You can help by contacting your Senators and urging them to vote against VAWA and end the real abuse of taxpayer dollars.

Right Wing Round-Up - 1/24/13

  • Towleroad: Rhode Island House Passes Marriage Equality Bill in 51-19 Vote. 
  • Good As You: Bryan Fischer is hijacking the civil rights movement (is what I would say if I adopted his own movement’s tactics).

PFAW Urges Congress to Pass Reauthorization of Violence Against Women Act

WASHINGTON – People For the American Way today praised members of the House and Senate for reintroducing a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which House Republicans allowed to expire at the end of last year.

“Democrats in Congress are right to keep pushing until this bill becomes law,” said Minister Leslie Watson Malachi, Director of African American Religious Affairs at People For the American Way. “VAWA was passed and reauthorized twice with broad bipartisan support, and has succeeded for 18 years in making women safer. It’s absolutely shameful that Republicans blocked a routine reauthorization of the law. Fighting domestic abuse and sexual assault should be bipartisan priorities.”

“Tea Party Republicans are jeopardizing the safety of all Americans because they object to protections for LGBT people, immigrants and Native women,” continued Malachi. “This extremist obstruction must stop.”

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Sandy Rios Hails Failure of Violence Against Women Act, Attacks Biden's 'Private Behavior with Women'

The Violence Against Women Act expired this year after House Republicans blocked a reauthorization that boosted protections for Native Americans, immigrants and the LGBT community. This development has overjoyed Religious Right activists, who have long opposed the anti-violence law.

Sandy Rios of the American Family Association, speaking today with Ed Bartlett of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments, criticized the indisputably effective law and attacked Vice President Joe Biden, warning that “if we knew Joe Biden’s private behavior with women it might not be a pretty picture.” Rios stated that Biden’s “crassness, crudeness and disrespect for women” raises doubts about his work on VAWA while Bartlett used Biden’s own admission that abuse occurred in his household when he was younger as a reason to block the law.

Rios was also upset that VAWA may soon include protections for the LGBT community. Bartlett contended that these new protections prove VAWA is too easy on women since “studies have shown that lesbian-perpetrated domestic violence is higher than violence among heterosexual couples.”

However, according to the Center for American Progress, “Studies have found that domestic violence occurs among same-sex couples at comparable rates to straight couples.” While Bartlett admits that domestic violence is a concern among same-sex couples, he and Rios seem to believe that is a reason to oppose the inclusion of LGBT protections in VAWA.

Rios: Then we have this whole business of reaching out to the LGBT community and now that’s confusing because that’s women against women in many cases. That would have to be women against women.

Bartlett: Exactly, you’re right. In fact, studies have shown that lesbian-perpetrated domestic violence is higher than violence among heterosexual couples. So that again shows that this is a problem not limited to male perpetrators and female victims.

Rios: You know the person that has been pushing for all these years is Vice President Joe Biden, I find that very curious, what can you say about that?

Bartlett: I’ll tell you something that most people don’t know about Vice President Biden. He himself as a child was subjected to very serious physical abuse by his female sister, his sibling. Most people don’t know that but he has actually stated that in hearings held in the Senate. There’s a high irony here, a fellow who as a child was subjected to female violence is now denying the very existence of that.

Rios: I also think it’s ironic. I have a personal opinion because of Joe Biden’s repeated behavior. I know he’s become the brunt of jokes because he’s always saying something silly. But one theme in his jokes is crassness, crudeness and disrespect for women. He’s supposed to be some champion for women and yet he comes out and says these outrageous things which are insulting. I think if we knew Joe Biden’s private behavior with women it might not be a pretty picture.

Rios even argued that the law has had “an extremely detrimental, unfair, tilted, bad effect on men.” Bartlett dismissed reports that women face disproportionate rates of domestic violence and said that VAWA was actually passed by those seeking “to undermine family stability.”

Rios: The problem with this particular law, as I understand it, is it has had an extremely detrimental, unfair, tilted, bad effect on men. Give us an example of how that has happened.

Bartlett: Sandy, you’re right and it’s happened in many ways. Part of what many people believe is the agenda is to undermine family stability by stereotyping men as being abusive. So over and over when you go to the websites of these various domestic violence organizations, they quote arrest statistics but they don’t quote the actual statistics from the Centers for Disease Control, which are the best statistics of all, which show that this is an equal opportunity problem. So we have men being stereotyped as being abusive, obviously that’s not good for strong, respectful gender-relationships in our country.

To be clear, the CDC and the Department of Justice [PDF] both find that women are much more likely than men to experience intimate partner violence. The DOJ found that “intimate partners were responsible for 3% of all violence against males and 23% of all violence against females in 2008,” and the CDC reports that “about 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner” in their lifetime.

African American Ministers on VAWA: Stop Putting Women’s Lives in Danger

Washington, DC – Today members of People For the American Way Foundation’s African American Ministers Leadership Council expressed deep concern about the House of Representatives’ failure to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). 

Rev. Brendolyn Jenkins-Boseman of Camden, South Carolina, chair of the African American Ministers Leadership Council, released the following statement:

“Violence against women is an issue that affects everyone in America, but it disproportionately impacts women of color. The 2010 National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey found that more than a third of Hispanic women and nearly 44% of black women have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetimes.

“For 18 years, the Violence Against Women Act has helped women across America avoid and combat domestic violence, making the country safer for every American.  Thanks to VAWA, the rate of intimate partner violence fell by 67% between 1993 and 2010.  The bottom line is that it’s an effective, life-saving law. 

“As faith leaders, we feel that it is important to speak out in support of those who are most vulnerable to violence and abuse.  The members of Congress who blocked VAWA aren’t just insulting women; they’re actively putting women’s lives in danger. Congress should act quickly in this new year to reauthorize this critically important program.” 

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Thanks to House GOP, New Year Starts Without Violence Against Women Act

Back in April, the Senate passed  a reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which since 1994 has provided funding and training for state and local law enforcement to prevent domestic violence and sexual assault. The law has worked incredibly well: between 1993 and 2010, the rate of intimate partner violence fell by 67 percent and the reporting of domestic violence has increased dramatically.

But this week, the Violence Against Women Act expires because House Republicans refused to reauthorize it. They refused even to hold a vote on it, instead proposing a watered-down bill that the president promised to veto. What they objected to were the new bill’s increased protections for immigrants, LGBT people and Native American women, which Majority Leader Eric Cantor characterized as “issues that divide us.”

Now the new Congress will have to start the process of reauthorizing VAWA all over again. Until they do, women across the country will be left without the safety net that VAWA provides.

PFAW

Roger Schlafly Denounces Violence Against Women Act, Dismisses Congresswoman who Sought Charges Against her Rapist

Yesterday, Eagle Forum’s Roger Schlafly, son of Eagle Forum president Phyllis Schlafly, mourned the dip in the white birth rate because of its impact on “American values.” Today, Schlafly is upset about the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Quoting excerpts from an Associated Press article, Schlafly mocked VAWA proponents who think the law could “protect women from marrying men who like to get drunk and crazy” and for including protections for immigrants who can provide evidence of domestic abuse, writing, “We have an immigration policy that favors liars and whiners.” Schlafly went on to chastise Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI), who discussed her ordeal in trying to “press charges against her rapist before the law’s passage,” maintaining that she simply “did not want to answer questions about whether she seduced the man.”

What VAWA is about

AP reports:
WASHINGTON (AP) - House Republicans set up a showdown Wednesday with the Senate and President Barack Obama over legislation to protect women from domestic violence, a fight that's become as much about female voters this election year as cracking down on abuse.

...

"The man I married had a penchant for drinking and was very violent when he drank," the bill's sponsor, freshman Rep. Sandy Adams, R-Fla., said during floor debate.
Really? Is that what the law is about? Is VAWA going to somehow use federal law to protect women from marrying men who like to get drunk and crazy?
Wisconsin Democrat Gwen Moore recalled what it was like to try to press charges against her rapist in the days before the law's passage.

"I took him to court (but) indeed, I was on trial," Moore said. "I had to prove, as a victim, that I was not being fraudulent in my accusations. They brought up how I was an unwed mother with a baby. Maybe I seduced him. They talked about how I was dressed."
So she testified in court that a man raped her, but did not want to answer questions about whether she seduced the man. She wants a federal law to presume that men are guilty so that female accusers do not have to answer embarrassing questions.

Another hot VAWA issue is visas:
Ronan and his allies argue that there's what he calls a "big national fraud" in which immigrant women claim to be abuse victims in order to gain residency or citizenship through the act, which can offer women permanent residency if they testify against abusive husbands.

The Violence Against Women Act actually offers two avenues for victims of abuse to seek immigration relief. Women in the US illegally can currently seek temporary visas if they are victims of domestic violence.
More and more foreign women are getting permanent USA visas by making unverified accusations of abuse. We have an immigration policy that favors liars and whiners.

How the Weakened House Version of VAWA Hurts Immigrant Women

Yesterday, we wrote about the House GOP’s effort to gut the Violence Against Women Act in response to a Senate reauthorization of the act that expands protections for gay and lesbian victims, Native Americans and immigrants. In the Daily Beast today, Michele Goldberg looks at some of the way the House-passed version of VAWA not only doesn’t expand protections for vulnerable groups, but removes existing domestic violence protections for immigrant women:

Mony Ruiz-Velasco, director of legal services at the National Immigrant Justice Center, has been representing immigrant victims of domestic violence for 15 years. In all of the hundreds of cases she has worked on, she says, “I’ve never had a case where the abuser did not use his immigration status as a tool.” Often an abusive American citizen or permanent resident with an immigrant wife will threaten her with deportation, which could separate her from her American children. Or he’ll begin the paperwork to sponsor his spouse for a green card but threaten to withdraw it. “You have no rights in this country,” an abuser will tell his victim, says Ruiz-Velasco.

The Violence Against Women Act offers these women some protection. But on Wednesday, House Republicans passed a reauthorization bill that significantly weakens it, claiming that VAWA facilitates immigration fraud. “For those of us who’ve been in the antiviolence movement for the last 30 years, some of the biggest victories are being completely turned on their head by what’s going on,” says Mallika Dutt, president and CEO of Breakthrough, a human-rights organization that has worked closely with immigrant victims of violence.

GOP opposition to the VAWA reauthorization is mind-boggling The sponsor of the House Republican’s bill, Florida’s Sandy Adams, claims that defending victims of domestic violence is a sort of zero-sum game. “Once you start listing out groups or listing in groups, then you’re excluding groups,” she told MSNBC today.

Needless to say, there is no evidence that making it easier for immigrant women to escape abusive relationships or making sure gay and lesbian victims are served by VAWA grantees or letting Native American women seek legal recourse through the tribal court system will hurt women who seek protection through the existing parts of the bill.

Each time Congress has reauthorized VAWA it has worked to improve it, to make it work better for more victims. This time is no different. Except, it seems, for the identity of the victims.

PFAW

Top VAWA Opponents Partnered with Convicted Wife-Beater and Group Tied to Mail Order Bride Firm

The House of Representatives is poised to pass a hobbled version of the Violence Against Women Act Reauthorization (VAWA) later today. The House GOP version actually rolls back some current protections and excludes other key protections contained in the Senate version of the bill, which was passed with bipartisan support in April. 

In past years, VAWA enjoyed bipartisan support and garnered little controversy. This time around, however, top Religious Right groups have rallied against the bill due to the protections it would extend to immigrant, Native American, and LGBT victims of domestic abuse. These groups, including the Family Research Council, Concerned Women for America, Eagle Forum, and the Southern Baptist Convention's Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, made noise on Capitol Hill and are most directly responsible for the events that will unfold in the House today.
 
It’s worth noting then that these groups partnered in their lobbying efforts with a convicted wife-beater and a group tied to a mail order bride firm. The anti-VAWA coalition, led by Concerned Women for America, wrote earlier this year to Senators:
We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing today to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda. […]
 
There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence.
 
Further, this legislation continues to use overly broad definitions of domestic violence. These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. Victims who can show physical evidence of abuse should be our primary focus.
The letter was signed by leaders from major Religious Right groups like FRC, Eagle Forum, Liberty Counsel, Traditional Values Coalition, and the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission. It was also signed by Timothy Johnson, former vice chair of the North Carolina Republican Party and founder and president of the Frederick Douglass Foundation, a small organization focused on outreach to conservative African Americans.
 
But there’s a big problem with partnering with Johnson on an issue like VAWA, and it’s been widely reported. Back in 2009, when Johnson was running for vice chair of the NC GOP, the media reported on his felony domestic violence conviction from 1996. He responded by releasing a statement of support from his ex-wife – “Were I a resident of the state I would vote for him.” Except she never said that. Months later the media reported that Johnson had fabricated the endorsement:
"I absolutely did not say that," Ofelia Felix-Johnson, now living in Nebraska, tells Xpress. "This was not done with my consent, and I didn’t even know about it. I didn’t appreciate him putting my name out there when I had nothing to do with it.”
On the other hand, this did happen, as Sarah Posner reported at Alternet:
According to court records, Johnson was arrested on Christmas Day 1995 in Cleveland, Ohio, and was later indicted by a grand jury for two felony counts, one of felonious assault and the other of kidnapping. According to the arrest report, when the police arrived, they found Felix-Johnson bleeding from the face. Timothy Johnson told the officers, according to their report, “I admit it. I hit her, that's the only way I can get her attention.” Felix-Johnson told the officers he restrained her on the couch, holding down her neck. One officer reports Ofelia Felix-Johnson saying that Johnson also punched her breasts, saying that she had no heart, and hit her over the back and buttocks with a plastic shoe rack, breaking the rack. The police report in the court file states that Johnson broke his wife's nose and toes, causing her to be hospitalized.
Johnson pleaded guilty to one count of felony aggravated assault and was sentenced to 18 months in prison, which was suspended. A few years later, Johnson was arrested again on domestic violence charges:
In 1998, Johnson was arrested by the Perrysburg Police, again on domestic violence charges. According to the police report, Johnson provided a "very similar" account of the incident to that his wife Ofelia and 14-year-old son gave police. Both wife and son reported that Johnson had Ofelia Felix-Johnson in a wrist lock, and when the son attempted to stop Johnson from hurting his mother, Johnson put the son in a head lock such that he was "unable to breathe and was choking up food," according to the police report. After the son broke free, the police report continues, Johnson "put his right hand around [the boy's] throat and pushed [him] against the wall with his back to the wall and choked [the boy] for about 5 seconds."

According to court records, Ofelia Felix-Johnson did not appear for the hearing, and the charges were dismissed. Johnson told AlterNet that "the incident that took place wasn't domestic violence. My ex-wife and I had a disagreement. And as always, well the person says, well I know you have this past on you so I'll just call the police. And as you said, there was no conviction and there was no trial. You know why? Because there was nothing there."
Given Johnson’s well-reported history of domestic violence and well-reported efforts to fabricate support from his battered ex-wife, it boggles the mind that Religious Right leaders would sign on to the above letter with him. In fact, their partnership with Johnson seems to take the War on Women to an entirely new level.
 
Another notable name on that letter is Philip Cook, the director of Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), on whose site the letter is hosted. SAVE has been lobbying House Republicans, with much success, to roll back protections for immigrant victims of domestic violence under VAWA. As Laura Bassett reported last week at the Huffington Post, SAVE’s treasurer “has a major financial interest in reducing immigrant protections”:
Natasha Spivack, started international "marriage service" Encounters International in 1993 with the aim of arranging marriages between U.S. men and Russian women. "The Woman Of Your Dreams Just May have a Russian Accent," states the company's website.
 
A federal jury in Baltimore awarded one of the Russian brides matched by Encounters International a settlement of $434,000 after she claimed to have been beaten by her American husband and claimed that the company failed to screen candidates properly. The woman also claimed that Encounters International neglected to tell her about a law allowing immigrants to escape abusive marriages without fear of automatic deportation. […]
 
Rosie Hidalgo, director of public policy for the anti-domestic violence organization Casa de Esperanza, said she has notified Republican members of the House Judiciary Committee that SAVE Services had strong connections to Encounters International, and pointed out that there have been no studies documenting immigration fraud on the part of U.S. anti-domestic violence programs.
 
"It's shocking to me that the people who are advocating for these anti-immigrant provisions are the people who have a monetary interest in not holding batterers accountable and not holding marriage broker agencies accountable," she told HuffPost. "These are the ones reaching out to House Republicans, and Republicans are supporting the policies they're pushing."
This is the company that the Religious Right keeps, and they sadly have a great deal of influence in the House. Today’s vote in the House will reveal just how much.

 

All of a Sudden, House GOP Doesn’t Like “Issues that Divide Us”

 The National Journal today reports on the rocky progress of the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, which for the first time this year has become an object of partisan dispute. Why? The Democratic-backed reauthorization includes new protections for LGBT people, Native Americans and undocumented immigrants who are victims of domestic violence. That bill passed in the Senate despite 31 no votes – all from Republican men.

In response, the House GOP put together an alternate bill that not only axes the new protections recommended by Democrats but eliminates some protections that are already in the bill. Yesterday, the White House threatened to veto the House bill.

Now, the House GOP is playing the victim, accusing Democrats of trying to make them look bad by including things like help for gays and lesbians and undocumented immigrants in the bill:

The Senate version would expand current protections to gay, bisexual, or transgender victims of domestic abuse, subject non-Native American suspects of domestic abuse occurring on reservations to the jurisdiction of tribal courts, and increase temporary visas for victims who are undocumented immigrants. The House bill was amended on Tuesday to allow illegal immigrant “U visa” recipients to receive permanent residence if the perpetrators of the crimes against them are aliens, are convicted of the crimes, and are deported to the visa holders’ home countries.

But Republican leaders have accused Democrats of adding those hot-button issues to intentionally create a fight for political advantage—and lash out at House Republicans for waging a “war against women.” House GOP leaders—including Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia—say they want to stay away from “issues that divide us.”

That’s right. House Republican leaders – who threatened to shut down the government to stop Planned Parenthood funding, who won’t even consider cutting tax loopholes for giant corporations, who continually go out of their way to express their opposition to equal rights for gays and lesbians – are now worried about “issues that divide us.” Like, apparently, protecting gay people, Native Americans and immigrants from domestic abuse.

One “issue that divides us” apparently didn’t turn off some House Republicans. Rep. Morgan Griffith of Virginia offered an amendment to the bill that, according to the National Journal, would provide “help for convicted domestic abusers who want their gun-ownership rights back.” That one, at least, didn’t make it past the Rules Committee.

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Southern Baptist Convention's Political Arm Pushes Opposition to the Violence Against Women Act

While the Southern Baptist Convention’s political arm, the Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission, is mired in scandal resulting from ERLC head Richard Land’s repeated plagiarism and inflammatory remarks on race, it has found time to criticize the Violence Against Women Act. Doug Carlson, manager for administration and policy communications for the ERLC, voiced the group’s opposition to the highly successful law because of new provisions that ensure that LGBT victims of domestic violence do not encounter discrimination while seeking help.

Carlson quoted a letter Richard Land signed along with Mathew Staver of Liberty Counsel, Jim Garlow of Renewing American Leadership Action, Tom McClusky of Family Research Council Action, C. Preston Noell of Tradition, Family, Property Inc., Phyllis Schlafly of Eagle Forum and Penny Nance and Janice Shaw Crouse of Concerned Women for America.

Notably, the letter was also signed by conservative activist Timothy Johnson, who was convicted of a felony domestic violence charge and was arrested a second time for putting his wife in a wrist lock and choking his son, as reported by Sarah Posner.

Carlson writes:

Under the reauthorization, VAWA, as the bill is known, would spend vast sums of taxpayer money—more than $400 million each year—on programs that lack sufficient oversight and fail to address the core issue of protecting vulnerable women from abuse. Many of the programs duplicate efforts already underway. Among other problems, it would expand special protections to include same-sex couples. Men who are victimized by their male sexual partners would receive the benefit of the law above heterosexuals. And with broadened definitions of who qualifies for services, those who are most in need of the bill’s protections would have diminished access to it.



Pro-family groups, too, have been leveling attacks on the bill for months for its anti-family policies. Many of them expressed those concerns to the Judiciary Committee in February in hopes of derailing the bill. “We, the undersigned, representing millions of Americans nationwide, are writing to oppose the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA),” Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission President Richard Land, along with nearly two dozen other religious and conservative leaders, wrote in a Feb. 1 letter to members of the Senate Judiciary Committee. “This nice-sounding bill is deceitful because it destroys the family by obscuring real violence in order to promote the feminist agenda.”

“There is no denying the very real problem of violence against women and children. However, the programs promoted in VAWA are harmful for families. VAWA often encourages the demise of the family as a means to eliminate violence,” they added.

Regrettably, a slim majority of committee members rejected that counsel, ultimately approving the bill in February on a narrow 10-8 vote. Now the battle lies in the full Senate, where those opposed to the new VAWA are facing significant pressure to support it. Allies of the bill are tagging its opponents as waging a “war on women.”

But no matter how noble its title suggests, the Violence Against Women Act is the wrong answer to addressing ongoing domestic abuse. With a shortage of evidence to date of VAWA’s success in reducing levels of violence against women, the war to decrease such violence and to ultimately strengthen the family shouldn’t include reauthorizing a flawed policy that promises an expansion of the same.

Concerned Women for America Urges Congress to Block the Violence Against Women Act

The far-right group Concerned Women for America has continued its campaign against the Violence Against Women Act, calling it “a boondoggle for feminists” and alleging that it supports the “homosexual agenda” by ensuring that LGBT victims aren’t turned away from shelters. Republicans in Congress have been working to block reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act, even though the law has been a success in helping spouses report domestic abuse and incidences of domestic violence have been on the decline since it was signed into law. The group said in an email:

It is astounding that the left's "war on woman" has some senators afraid to oppose a bad bill simply because it's titled, "The Violence Against Women Act."

This legislation, which is normally a boondoggle for feminists groups, has become even more political this Congress. The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), S. 1925, creates new protections for homosexuals. In order to receive federal grants, domestic violence organizations have to agree to embrace the homosexual agenda. It also expands categories of who is eligible to receive services.

These broad definitions actually squander the resources for victims of actual violence by failing to properly prioritize and assess victims. According to Dr. Janice Crouse, Senior Fellow of Concerned Women for America's Beverly LaHaye Institute, VAWA currently does not address the 30 items on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's list of risk factors for intimate partner violence. Further broadening programs dilutes precious help and resources even more.

The Violence Against Women Act spends over $400 million each year. According to Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), VAWA fails to ensure that the money being spent is not wasted on ineffective programs. He said that random audits by the Inspector General found repeated irregularities and misconduct, including unauthorized and unallowable expenses in 21 of 22 grants.

The Right's 2012 Solution: "Just Close Your Eyes"

This post originally appeared in the Huffington Post.

Last month, Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Corbett offered a solution for women who were going to be forced by the government to undergo a completely unnecessary ultrasound against their wills: "You can't make anybody watch, okay? Because you just have to close your eyes." The governor's suggestion would be almost comical, if it weren't for the tragic fact that forcing women to watch was the whole point of the legislation Corbett supported.

But it seems that Corbett's suggestion doesn't just apply to women seeking abortions in the Keystone state. It is, in essence, what the GOP is telling to every woman turned off by the party's attacks on reproductive rights, equal pay and domestic violence protections: "You just have to close your eyes."

Mitt Romney's campaign is banking on the fact that voters of both genders are concerned about the economy in these uncertain times. Polls show that they're right. But just because you're concerned with the economy doesn't mean you ignore it when a group of people are systematically taking away your rights for their own short-term political gain.

Sadly, this is the new normal. The Tea Party's success has been based on this "just close your eyes" formula. Swept into power on a wave of economic dissatisfaction, Tea Party legislators in Washington and the states asked the country to "close its eyes" as it did everything but fix the economy. "Pay no attention while we roll back decades of progress everything else you care about. Just close your eyes while we bash immigrants, cut essential services, make it very hard to vote, and take away collective bargaining rights". Many minorities have been affected, particularly in the last two years, but arguably and amazingly, no group has been under attack more than the American majority--women.

A new report from People For the American Way investigates the new landscape that the Tea Party is creating for American women. Mississippi is set to become the only state in the country without a legal abortion clinic. Texas is on the path to denying reproductive health care to 130,000 low-income women. Wisconsin repealed its enforcement mechanism for equal pay lawsuits. Senate Republicans are fighting to stop the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. Following an all-male panel speaking on women's health, a woman who dares speak in front of Congress about the importance of affordable contraception is called a "slut."

Even with closed eyes, these things are very hard to miss. The Romney campaign has attempted to distract voters from this train wreck of anti-woman policies by claiming that a second Obama administration will hurt women economically. Last week, they hammered hard on the claim that women have accounted for 92 percent of job losses under President Obama- a mangled statistic that ignores, among other factors, that many of those losses were the result of Republican-led layoffs of teachers and other government employees. Then they decided to accuse Democrats of waging a "War on Moms" - forgetting, perhaps, the candidate's history of aggressively pushing low-income women to work outside of the home when their children are very young.

Women haven't bought it. In polls, Romney still trails Obama among women voters by double digits. And in an under-reported fact, among women ages 18 to 29, he's losing by an astounding 45 points. You don't need a political science degree that know that that spells disaster.

Mitt Romney and congressional Republicans seem to think they can get away with almost anything because, in the end, their Election Day hopes will be saved by a bad economy. The problem is, the people they attack on a regular basis - women, gays, Latinos, Muslims, you name it -know the Tea Party's record on the economy and its history of cynical, culture-war attacks that deeply affect the lives of real people. We have our eyes wide open.

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