Thursday’s House vote was most revealing because it finally ‘outed’ Republican Congressman Jason Chaffetz, who joined 137 other Republicans in the House in voting ‘Nay’ on reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act!
Why on earth would Jason Chaffetz or any other member of the House of Representatives vote against protecting women from violence?
Chaffetz has been living the good life, paid for by men and women voters in Utah's 3rd Congressional District since 2008 and he now has the unmitigated gall to vote against legislation that has worked for the past two decades to protect innocent women across the country from abusers, batterers, and murderers?
I can only assume that Chaffetz has something against women . . . either that or he’s so terrified of being ‘primaried’ by Tea Partiers who don’t like the fact that the Violence Against Women Act actually extends protection to same-sex couples, to Native American women, and to undocumented women in America, he didn’t have the political courage to vote for what is ‘Right’.
Which is it?
Is it that the honorable Jason Chaffetz doesn’t give a rat’s behind about protecting women or is it that Chaffetz is pathetically petrified of Tea Partiers?
Either way, the good folks who live in the 3rd Congressional District in Utah have to wonder, is this the kind of person we want to pay $174,000.00 per year, plus benefits, and expenses to represent us in Washington, D.C.?
A guy who votes against protecting women from abusers, batterers, and murderers?
That's a question that will be answered in November, 2014.
After all, the Violence Against Women Act is hardly unnecessary legislation. The Public Policy Office of the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV) reports the following horrific statistics which evidently don’t seem to bother Jason Chaffetz:
- 1 in 4 women will be victimized by domestic violence in her lifetime
- An estimated 1.3 million women in America are assaulted by a so-called ‘intimate partner’ each year
- 85% of all domestic violence victims are women
- 7.8 million women in America have been raped by an intimate partner at some point in their lives
- Approximately 16,800 women are murdered each year by that selfsame intimate partner
- Domestic violence against women takes approximately $37 billion out of the American economy each year to pay for victim medical and health care costs, lost productivity, plus the time, energy, and direct expenses to investigate, arrest, prosecute, and jail perpetrators
So what does the Violence Against Women Act do to protect women in America? According to a fact sheet published by the White House, the Violence Against Women Act, written by then-Senator Joe Biden and enacted by Congress in 1994:
- Holds rapists accountable for their crimes by strengthening federal penalties for repeat offenders
- Creates a federal ‘rape shield law’ to prevent rapists from attempting to use victims’ sexual history as a defense during their criminal trials
- Frees victims of domestic violence from having to pay for rape examinations or for court orders of protection
- Requires all protection orders be enforced in all state, territorial, and tribal jurisdictions in the United States
- Increases rates of prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of perpetrators of domestic violence
- Requires police to respond to calls from victims of domestic violence
- Has educated over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, and judges each year on the hard realities of domestic and sexual violence
- Created the National Domestic Violence Hotline, which has answered more than 3 million calls and receives more than 22,000 calls each month, mostly from first-time callers
What do those facts mean . . . how have they translated into protecting American women? Fair question and here’s the answer . . . between 1994 and 2010, the Violence Against Women Act:
- Reduced the rate of intimate partner violence against women by 67%
- Cut the rate of intimate partner murders of women by 35%
- Increased Reports of domestic and sexual violence against women to all-time highs
- Dramatically increased the number of arrests of perpetrators of violence against women
- Caused every state in the union to make stalking a crime; authorize warrantless arrests of suspects in misdemeanor domestic violence cases; and enact criminal penalties for violators of protection orders
If you’d like to hear from the man himself why he refused to vote to take action to protect millions of women from domestic violence, save thousands of lives, and save billions of dollars in health care and legal costs, you probably ought to call him at: Phone: 202-225-7751 – FAX: 202-225-5629 OR at: Phone: 801-851-2500 – FAX: 801-851-2509.
Comments? Questions? Contact the author at: firstname.lastname@example.org or Tweet: @DavyZJones