Presidential spotlight on domestic violence spurs public on VAWA

An image being distributed by Planned Parenthood with the following message: "Send a special valentine to Congress: 'I support the Violence Against Women Act – and I count on you to do the same!'

In his State of the Union address Tuesday night, President Barack Obama said the following words about domestic violence:

“We know our economy is stronger when our wives, mothers, and daughters can live their lives free from discrimination in the workplace, and free from the fear of domestic violence.  Today, the Senate passed the Violence Against Women Act that Joe Biden originally wrote almost 20 years ago.  I urge the House to do the same.”

Obama didn’t say more on the topic, but he didn’t need to: it’s a powerful spotlight he wields during the SOTU.

After the speech, liberal groups were pleased with the President’s words.

“Thank you, President Obama, for focusing on the Violence Against Women Act (in addition to child care, equal pay, and more!) at last night’s State of the Union,” Planned Parenthood posted on its Facebook page. “This is why women re-elected you! Congress needs to step up.”

Further to the point, Planned Parenthood is passing around a special Valentine for supporters of the legislation to spread around.

The latest on the bill, published in Politico, quotes Speaker John Boehner saying that there isn’t a decision on the bill yet.

On Tuesday, the Senate voted 78-22 in favor of the legislation that would expand and extend protections to victims of domestic violence, including some of society’s most vulnerable individuals — undocumented immigrants and Native Americans.

The House of Representatives has, as we’ve repeatedly reported, been stuck on provisions relating to tribal land issues.

This is what Boehner said today as the public sentiment begins mounting:

”Our leadership is continuing [its] work with the committee of jurisdiction, looking at finding ways to deal with this legislation,” Boehner said, according to Politico. “We’re fully committed to doing everything we can to protect women in our society and I expect that the House will act in a timely fashion in some way. No decision has been made about…whether we take up the Senate bill or move our own version of the bill.”

While Boehner deliberates with his Republican congressgants (get it?), domestic violence remains ever-present in the news.

Olympian runner Oscar Pistorius has been charged with murder for shooting his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, today. Authorities revealed that there’d been previous domestic incidents in their home, according to the New York Times.

Locally, Fredrick Goings was convicted of murdering the ex-girlfriend of former Chicago Bull Eddy Curry and his 10-month-old daughter. The victim’s mother afterward warned women to leave abusive relationships, according to the Sun-Times.

Tomorrow, we’ll have a story from a domestic violence counseling session we attended last week. This is part of our ongoing series about domestic violence in immigrant communities.


El autor

Gregory Pratt es contribuidor Vívelohoy

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