Friends of VAWA Coalition Calls on the House to Defeat the Substitute to S. 47 and Pass the Bipartisan Senate Bill
Washington, D.C. – The 73 undersigned national organizations issued the following statement opposing the House Republican substitute for the bi-partisan Senate bill (S.47), Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), that includes provisions to protect vulnerable communities, including Native American women, college students, and LGBT individuals:
The House Republican Leadership’s bill puts a barrier to the protection of victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Conversely, the Senate version of VAWA, which was adopted with strong bipartisan support (78-22), addresses gaps in current service programs that left Native American women, college students, LGBT individuals, and other vulnerable groups without vital protections.
Today, House Republican Leadership will offer a substitute to the bipartisan Senate version of VAWA (S. 47), eliminating these important provisions and weakening the Office of Violence Against Women. These omissions deny critical services to many victims and reinforce the perception of the Republican Party as hostile to the needs of women, college students, LGBT persons, and communities of color. The House substitute:
· Limits the authority S. 47 provides to tribal authorities to prosecute non-tribal members who commit domestic violence or sexual assault crimes on tribal land. This makes it more difficult for Native American women to hold their abusers accountable. Native Americans are disproportionately affected by dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking.
· Eliminates provisions of the Senate bill that would require colleges and universities to keep students safe and informed about policies on sexual assault and enhance programs that help to prevent and combat sexual violence on college campuses.
· Drops the anti-discrimination provisions from S. 47, which were designed to ensure that LGBT victims receive the services they need regardless of their gender identity or sexual orientation. Studies have shown that LGBT individuals are victims of domestic and sexual violence at equal or greater levels than the rest of the population.
Even in today’s polarized political climate, we should at least be able to agree that when we send our daughters and sons to college, they should be protected from stalking, date rape and sexual assault; that one-third of tribal women who have been the victims of rape or domestic abuse should have equal access to justice no matter who the perpetrator is; and, that domestic violence is still violence regardless of gender identity or sexual orientation.
It is critical that Representatives reject the exclusionary substitute bill and support passage of the bipartisan Senate bill. If you have any questions, please contact Nancy Zirkin, Executive Vice-President, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2880 email@example.com or Sakira Cook, Senior Policy Associate, The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, at 202-263-2894 or firstname.lastname@example.org or Norma Gattsek, Director of Government Relations, Feminist Majority at email@example.com or 703-522-2214.