The House of Representatives Fails Women, A Story in .GIFs Julia Gazdag

F**k it, I give up. I can’t use my words anymore.

The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is was a piece of legislation that created government provisions for funding/supporting the protection of women against violent acts, such as investigating and prosecuting perpetrators of violence against women, as well as ensuring restitution. It is was a law, with its own office in the Department of Justice (RIP).

Even though the Senate renewed the VAWA less than a year ago, the House of Representatives let it expire, which means it’s not in effect anymore. And by “House of Representatives” I mean “the Republicans in the House of Representatives” since they were the ones who refused to bring it up for renewal.

Now, let’s be fair. The White House wouldn’t sign the House’s measure. Admittedly, the Republican side of the bipartisan authorship rewrote some provisions so that the VAWA pretty much read like 1950 threw up all over the words until all the common decency went away, so I see where the White House is coming from on this one.

But they had reasons! Three new provisions had been written in, and they were apparently unacceptable to House Republicans. The three provisions that threaten everyone ever were:

1. New protections for LGBTQ women!

 2. Protections for immigrants, regardless of citizenship status!

3. Protections for Native American women!

Yes, ladies and gentlemen. These are your House Republicans. The dudes who think that not supporting Native American, immigrant and LGBTQ women is more important than ensuring the safety of women nationwide.

Biden sat down with House Majority leader Eric Cantor and tried to negotiate with him, but no dice. No rights advocating for vaginas, you guys! There are people to screw over with legislation and only 24 hours in the day to do it! And stop saying vagina, it is a dirty, medical term that has no place in Congress! Next thing you’ll be using words like “uterus” and “ovaries” to discuss women’s reproductive rights, and we’ll all have a medical convention on our hands.

 

Let’s all stop and take a moment to consider that we need special legislation to protect women, because it’s somehow not inherent in our legal system that we’re people too and therefore get to be treated as such. Domestic abuse and rape are so prevalent that we need special government funding just to deal with its fallout. And now we don’t even get that, because if we want all women to have access to the same protections, regardless of their demographic, well that’s just outrageous, apparently.

But hey, on the bright side, I guess time travel is possible! Let’s keep it up you guys, with any luck we can wear corsets and not have rights by this time next year!

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  1. Juila, I enjoyed reading this, and pretty much everything you’ve written here on HelloGiggles.
    I must say, my favourite part of this article is the Big Lebowski Vagina gif.

  2. Great post (and apropos gifs ^_^) I agree, this legislation really shouldn’t be allowed to expire. Thought this petition might be of interest to those concerned about this issue… http://wh.gov/PNWu

  3. I NEED YOUR GIFS ALL DAY EVERYDAY.

    Rebecca Fernandez | 1/10/2013 03:01 pm
  4. If everyone is going to get so fussy over a gif parade, I’m not sharing any more gifs, you guys. And I have some pretty great ones, so be nice.

  5. It’s incomprehensible to me why women still need special protection but it’s clear that they do. I don’t understand how any woman in this country supports the good old boys club aka the Republican party but some do. Have these women been held down so long that they can no longer recognize subjugation? Live in the outhouse long enough you can’t smell the shit. The history of male dominance is readily viewable. It truly is about time that society steps out of the dark ages into a new enlightenment.

  6. A great step forward towards equality! Women are still protected by the law, maybe now male victims of domestic violence will become more visible.

    • Both men and women are protected against domestic violence — this piece of legislation was a response to the extremely larger amount of women in need of legal and social support due to violence, not just domestic. It is ASTOUNDING that anyone would think that taking away these resources, let alone on the basis of not supporting marginalized minorities, is any kind of step towards equality.

      • And what is your evidence “extremely larger amount” of women are in need of legal support? Surveys that ask men and women the same questions reveal that men suffer in significant numbers, this would include minority males. Statistics also show men are the number one victim of violent assault and violent crime. So why do women deserve special funding and support for this issue that effects people? Equality means treating people the same under our laws. Culture will ensure that Men will still be written off because of both traditional gender perception and modern feminist misinformation about violence, but removing feminist bias from our laws is a step in the right direction.

        • There’s a staggeringly higher rate of sexual assault against women than against men, hence the need for the law. There is no assertion that men are not victims of violence, but the reason the law was called the Violence AGAINST WOMEN Act, is because it focused needed funds and mandates at those specific crimes, as the law on its own did not adequately provide necessary protection. We’re barely 2 decades out from acknowledging nationwide that rape within marriage is still rape, and one of the biggest reasons this law was created in the first place was because before it, judges and law officers could say “meh, her skirt was too short, she was asking for it” which is unique to women and rape. No law official can say “he was wearing an Armani suit, he was asking to be beaten and mugged.” If your stance on gender equality is that women don’t require laws that balance the scales in order to have the same right to life and safety as men, or rather, if you want to spout off your blatantly sexist and ignorant ideas, please start a blog and keep it far away from my eyes. I have a day job to get back to and am exhausted arguing with people like you on this comment thread.

          • You say its “staggeringly higher for women” and you say judges will be misogynist by default BUT What is your data? google “Security – Victims of Violent Crime” google “Family violence in Canada: a statistical profile. 2005″ These are non feminist surveys that ask men and women the same questions like most surveys of these kinds they show men suffer domestic violence in numbers closer to equal with women than not at all, and when it comes to being targets for violent crime men suffer more than women. Vawa was enacted, not based on good data but based on the same kind of unverifiable feminist assertions that you are making because of your belief in unverifiable feminist dogma. You have to believe that judges will be misogynist by virtue of being born male, you have have to believe cops are all hillbilly rednecks with the opinion “shes asking for it”, you have to believe in the feminists duluth model, which states female abusers are victims of circumstance and male abusers are just that way because they are men. In other words you would have to be a sexist to believe vawa was needed in the first place. It is not enough to simply say male judges are misogynist you have to prove it. There is No proof, there are only sexist feminist assertions about men based on unverifiable feminist dogma. Just like religious dogma feminist dogma has no place in our law system. Now men and women will have equal funds to defend themselves how horrible! Label me a sexist heretic all you want i just implore you to base your gender beliefs on evidence not dogma.

  7. How can we expect to be equals with men if we need separate laws. The laws that protect men should also be protecting women. I am protected by all of the amendments just like my male counterparts. If women continually ask for special laws men will never see them as equals. I am not saying that the components of this bill are not valid (though I feel some women on this thread will not believe me). Women of all types should be protected, but we shouldn’t need special laws for that purpose. I thin this pulls women back to the 1950′s as much as the original articles example. This bill shows that women still aren’t equal because women still need special legislation. I believe that is the true issue not a political one or a discussion on lack of bi-partisonship.

    • Women need this bill because it provides extra funding that otherwise would be unavailable — being treated as equals isn’t going to begin with being marginalized instead of empowered.

  8. Thanks for the article!

    “Let’s all stop and take a moment to consider that we need special legislation to protect women, because it’s somehow not inherent in our legal system that we’re people too and therefore get to be treated as such.”

    This I don’t understand. Is it true that if a rape victim came into a police station they would be passed over? Can you describe in some detail how things worked while this law was active and now things work now that its been allowed to lapse? My deeper inspection led me to the conclusion that if these crimes aren’t getting addressed without the law then the actual problem is simply dramatic under-funding for police work in general. ie these crimes should be addressed and if specific funding is necessary to make sure they are addressed then we are dramatically under-funding police work in general. Further, other funds go to the court system, which similarly leads me to the conclusion the court systems are generally under-funded if losing this law in fact has a negative impact.

    Could you describe the specific nature of the protection offered to Native American women that was rejected? My early research lead me to believe this was but the tip of the iceberg and really that the difference between how criminal offenses are prosecuted on tribal land versus “non-tribal land” need to change. Even further, it seems like tribal stuff could be further simplified with general US law, but I digress… Anyhoo, similar in depth descriptions of the other protections you think should have been approved would be appreciated. (ie, what was the protection for LBGTQ women that wasn’t passed? Howsabout the protection for illegal immigrants?)

    When I see things like this, I always wonder why there isn’t more compromise in general. Its not clear to me at all that the opposition wouldn’t agree once their specific issues were addressed, Further, its not clear to me why tacking everything ever into one bill is the best strategy versus more specific bills for specific issues. Politics is the worst.

    Anyhoo, happy Tuesday! :)

    • It includes a lot of things that will now change, but to not be general I want to address your question with one specific answer. The VAWA had a piece of it that enacted a “Rape Shield Law” and one of the many things this did was protect women from letting the court use their ‘previous sexual experience’ against them in rape cases. Before it they could ask how many sexual partners she had and if the judge thought it an inappropriate number it could be evidence against her case.

      But, as I said, this is only one of the many very important things that the VAWA included. To be general, it also helped protect women from bias in domestic violence cases. When a woman reports violence it is up to the OPINIONS of the police officers, lawyers, judges, etc. as to how serious her case is (unless it’s 100% obvious ie the man got caught in the act or tried to kill her). VAWA helped protect against that, but without it that is also no longer applicable.

      • What Amber said. A sizeable chunk of the inequality is generations-old cultural bias that supports approaches to rape like assuming a woman was asking for it if she was wearing provocative clothing. The VAWA ensured equal treatment in the sense that a female violent crime victim was treated as a violent crime victim, not as a woman who is susceptible to social stigma in the eyes of the law.

        • This is needed only if you believe men are inherently misogynist, what evidence ever existed that judges will think women are whores? Thanks to the duluth model most male victims of dv are arrested when cops show up because feminist bias in the law has instructed cops to believe women over men. Vawa ignores reality and legalizes feminists negative opinions about men and works to actually marginalize male victims.

  9. I still can’t wrap my head around how, as a human being that is capable of producing other human beings with my body (seriously, isn’t that insane?!), I’m being marginalized, exploited and judged based solely on that property of my body. After everything we’ve been through (as women) the fact that we are so quickly losing ground in a nation that prides itself on being at the head of the pack in regard to innovation, is genuinely terrifying to me, and it should be to you as well (no matter what political party you identify with).

  10. From, not for, in the 2nd sentence. Stupid autocorrect.

  11. You know, I actually find this article refreshing. Julia was expressing her disdain for the Republicans blocking this particular piece of legislation for making it through. We all (should) know that it’s not okay to make generalizations about any group, but when the GOP consistently demonstrates that they don’t really care about women’s rights, it ceases to be a generalization. It’s refreshing to me because Julia makes no apologies about her stance and refuses to apologize for stating as much. All women – not just the marginalized women – should be concerned about VAWA not passing because it opens the door for ALL women to be marginalized. We’ve worked too hard on women’s rights for too long to idly sit by and watch this happen, regardless of your political affiliation.

  12. Brilliant. Sad. And scary.

    As for the Republicans: I think they lost touch with not only their (potential) voters but also with real life. They must have been sent from outer space (or North Korea) to slowly destroy the US from within. Other than that I have no rational explanation for such ignorant behaviour…

    • This is exactly the type of comment that I find disturbing. To label an entire group of politicians and voters as disconnected from real life, sent from outer-space, and to destroy the U.S. is divisive language. Ju Li mention ignorant behavior and I find this comment a great example of one. How can the country expect its politicians to come together, in a non-partisan manner, when their constituents still think along an “us” versus “them” mentality. This makes me so sad…

      • Thanks for your feedback, Janice. You may have noticed the slight irony in my earlier comment.
        I am quite aware of the difference between ultra-conservative hardliners (e.g. Tea Party) and moderate Republican politicians and I also wasn’t saying that there are no Republican politicians with a sensible head on their shoulders. But the general view you get looking at the party itself from abroad is quite a disturbing one.
        And in my mind a party who openly supports the ultra-rich (a tiny minority), the NRA and oil and weapon industry seems somewhat anachronistic – especially in times of the financial crisis, the increasing number of killing sprees and similar events involving weapons and global warming and exploitation of fossil energy resources. The presidential candidate Romney has made it very clear, he doesn’t care squat about the financially challenged. Also the issue Julia described in her article, causing a decrease in women’s protection and rights through lacking support of Rep. politicians.
        (I’m not even going to mention the blocking of a necessary health care reform and the conflict about the debt limit.)
        So forgive me, but I just don’t get why so many people vote for a party whose political aim seems to be to improve the living conditions for minorities and who, for a large part, doesn’t seem to know what the majority of the people they claim to speak for need or want. If you are a Republican voter that’s ok but I wouldn’t vote for them if I could.
        Anyway this is basically the view of a European outsider – if you like you can tell me that I don’t have a clue anyways as I’m not living in the US, that’s ok. But that is just my opinion!

      • How do we expect our politicians to come together in a bi-partisan manner when that effort results in either discriminative legislation or a refusal to compromise?

  13. Gonna say this again, even though I’ve said it many times and even wrote a post about it: this isn’t about Republicans, or how I feel about them. This is a site that focuses on women, and this article was written about an issue pertaining to women. I say Republicans were the reason the VAWA wasn’t renewed because that is the reason cited by CNN, MSNBC, NPR, and various other news sources. I believe it is important to hold politicians accountable in order to achieve change, and the fact that so many issues of female marginalization are directly connected with Republican politicking says more about the party’s misrepresentation of the people who elected them, than it does about my personal views.

  14. While I am also upset about this not being passed, the blind finger wagging towards the Republican party will do no one any good. Both the Democrats and the Republicans are responisible for this not passing, and to continue to blame it on one party or another, will continue to get our country no where. As far as I can tell, the past four decades in this country have not exactly been stellar and both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for it. So maybe instead of blaming it on one party or another, we should vote for independents who instead of being diluted into the political machine and tell us who we can and can’t sleep with while using every excuse to take money from us, will return our country to its purest form in which they protect us as citizens and run the post office. Instead of paying for vacations and jet fuel for themselves.

  15. The article talks about how “The House of Representatives Fails Women”, well this blog fails to show the Republicans in anything but a negative light. Really. As an independent, I see the current system being hurt by politicians located at both sides of the aisle. It would be nice to see some balanced viewpoints.

    As much as I like this site, I seriously dislike the political takes that are so one sided that it is blindingly bad. We get it! You don’t like Republicans. Can we move on? Or at least be educated enough to bring other viewpoints that take everything into account?

    Lastly, I really admire Jon Stewart. He makes it very clear he is a Democrat. However, when he sees ridiculous actions by a politician, he calls him/her out regardless of party. That kind of political take would be a welcomed change here.

    • I hope you’re not expecting me to identify as a Democrat, because I don’t consider myself one. I don’t think I need to identify myself politically to call out politicians who work against my interests, which I feel I do regardless of party affiliation.

      • First, thank you for taking out the time to address my comment. I always appreciate writers taking a moment to acknowledge the reader.
        Second, I am sad and disappointed that you missed my point. I do not need to know your party affiliation. I really do not. But it does come across very clear you have a bias towards one political party. Maybe in realty you do not, but that is how it comes across through your words.

        Third, the bias against Republicans is the trend on this site. I have seen articles about Democrats, but not one was a critical review but how inspirational they are. (Please correct me if I am wrong. However, I cannot recall a single one.) It is tiring to hear just one side of the story.

        Fourth, Democrats, Republicans, Independents, Libertarians, come in various forms (like Blue Dog Democrats and Moderate Republicans). It would be a nice change to see the political spectrum represented in the articles. I see no harm in providing readers a wide range of ideas. Isn’t that one of the objectives of this site?

        • I’m glad to have the opportunity for dialogue! To be honest, I think what I write comes across however it’s read. In this case, Joe Biden was mentioned as trying to negotiate, and Eric Cantor was the one who refused to budge. I also mentioned that the White House had the opportunity to pass the bill as it was, and refused to. I’m more concerned with the fact this actually happened. A piece of legislation that has protected women for almost 20 years failed to pass, specifically because it offered support to marginalized women. That is infuriating. If the Democrats had blocked it, I would be railing at them. I’m immensely frustrated that not only is there an overwhelming trend of political action against women coming from the Republican party, but if I dare mention it in the context of addressing a specific issue, people only see political sides. The issue here is women, and women’s rights. We write editorials with the aim of being unbiased overall. We don’t write hate pieces aimed at specific politicians, or parties, but if they are responsible for something that affects women negatively, then yes, that will be mentioned — it is not the focus, but it is also part of the story. Show me a republican who stands up against their party to advocate for women, and I will write the glory piece myself.

          • Julia, once again, thanks for taking the time out to address my comments. Especially since you did not have to. :)

            In the context of this article, I actually agree with you that it is bafalling as to why Eric Cantor & others allowed this act to expire, the first time it has happened since it was passed in 1994.

            I also see where you are coming from, that this article is about this one particular issue.

            Just to clarify where I am coming from, it just appears that this site has little to positively say about Republicans, great things to say about Democrats, and nothing to say at all about other political parties (like Libertarians). The constant flow of political articles just seem to reiterate this stance. I go back to Jon Stewart’s the Daily Show as a great example of providing news (yes, news! for a political satire comedy show), because I love how the show is able to really critically look at the political issues no matter what the affiliation.

            Well, I am done for the evening. Thanks for taking out the time to discuss with me. :)

            • Girl, like I said: we write about women’s issues, and the two parties fall on different sides of it most of the time. We aren’t taking sides, we’re discussing issues. Also, as much as this is a great issue to debate, this is a comment thread on a gif parade. I’m just saying.

            • Okay, we get it. You’re a Republican. Let’s move on now.

              • Tatiana, your comment to Janice was really quite rude. She was not speaking in a rude or pushy manor, and Julia was responding in a way that made it clear that she valued the discussion that Janice was perpetuating. Janice and Julia’s discussion was obviously over, and if you did not like it you just had to scroll past it. What Janice was saying is true-no one can deny that Hello Giggles posts a lot of posts that have a decidedly liberal and or Democratic bias. I am all for debate in the comments section, but Hello Giggles prides itself on being a positive space, and your comment was not all that positive. All viewpoints and opinions are encouraged, and no one should be forced to “move on” for it.