Maloney on passage of House majority’s version of Violence Against Women Act
WASHINGTON, DC – Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) voted against the House Majority’s version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) reauthorization, which passed the House today by a vote of 222 – 205.
“18 years ago, when the Violence Against Women Act first passed Congress with bipartisan support and the leadership of then-Senator Joe Biden, we took domestic violence out of the shadows and gave law enforcement agencies the tools they needed—the funding and training—to help domestic violence victims with the compassion they needed, and apprehend those who did them harm,” Maloney said. “And it worked. Since then, the rate of intimate-partner violence against females has declined by 53%. The Senate version of the VAWA reauthorization expanded these effective protections to native Americans, the LGBT community, and immigrants. But the House version says there are some who we will not help—who we will not protect; it’s yet another assault in the war on women.”
President Obama has issued a veto threat on the House version of VAWA reauthorization.
The following are Maloney’s prepared remarks for delivery on the House floor:
“According to the Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics, females age 12 or older experienced about 552,000 nonfatal violent victimizations in 2008, and sadly that represents progress. Since the Violence Against Women Act was first passed in 1993, the rate of intimate partner violence against females has declined by 53%.
“So the Violence Against Women Act was working. But it needs improvement. Yet as this bill now stands, it actually rolls back badly needed protections.
“A government has no more important task than to keep its citizens safe.
“But in its current form, this bill says there are some we will not help, we will not protect: Native Americans, gay, lesbian and transgender people, and immigrants who are victims of domestic violence.
“Even though American Indians are 2.5 times more likely to experience sexual assault crimes compared to all other races, our colleagues across the aisle would not extend the protections of this bill to Tribal residents. Why? Do they not suffer when they are assaulted?
“This bill in its current form would not prohibit discrimination against LGBT victims. Why? Do they not bleed when they are struck?
“This bill in its current form eliminates the path to citizenship for some visa holders who have been victims of sex trafficking, torture, rape, or domestic violence – even though they are cooperating with law enforcement in the investigation or prosecution of these crimes. Why? Do they not bruise when they are beaten and battered?
“There is an indifference to the suffering of some, just some, in this bill that is as chilling and callous as anything I have seen in this chamber in modern times.
“It is one more assault in what has sadly but surely become a war on women.”