“I am horrified by the complete disconnect between the danger that women in South Carolina face, and how their Republican representatives voted,” said Colbert-Busch in a statement released this afternoon.
This reinstatement follows a two-month relative absence of VAWA, which had been in effect since 1994, and only needed formal renewal last year.
In May 2012, however, the Republican-led U.S. House of Representatives attempted to change VAWA following its Senate renewal, seeking to remove inclusion of programs for Native American, LGBT and immigrant victims of domestic violence.
When the Senate refused the House’s variation, followed by the House later blocking any vote on its renewal, VAWA officially expired on Jan. 3, 2013.
When readmitted to the Senate in February, eight Republicans including South Carolina’s Tim Scott attempted to block VAWA from coming to a vote, but it eventually was passed and sent to the House, which finally reinstated the act yesterday.
Voting against this renewal, however, were Reps. Joe Wilson, Jeff Duncan, Trey Gowdy, Mick Mulvaney and Tom Rice. Both Scott and Sen. Lindsey Graham voted against the Senate version on Feb. 12.
“These are the very same politicians who are always claiming that they have South Carolinians’ best interests at heart,” said Colbert Busch. “Try telling that to the families of the 39 women—and 13 men—who were killed by their partners in South Carolina in 2011.”
An average of 36,000 South Carolina women are victims of domestic violence every year, according to the state Attorney General, and the state currently ranks second-highest in murders by domestic violence. One of every eight women in South Carolina suffers physical abuse in relationships at least once.
Since first passage of VAWA in 1994, the number of women killed by intimate partners decreased by 34 percent, domestic violence against men dropped 46 percent, and the rate of all domestic violence in the U.S. fell 67 percent.