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New Bipartisan Violence Against Women Act Takes Aim at Untested Rape Kits
Guess what Republicans get for killing the Violence Against Women Act in the last session? Yesterday in the Senate (where some sanity prevails), Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) introduced yet again the Violence Against Women Act, but this time they added the SAFER Act, “a bill also approved by the Senate last year that provides for audits of untested rape kits. The improved version now also provides law enforcement the tools they need to help reduce the backlog of rape kits throughout the country.”
Desperate to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act after it died in the House last September (the place where all sane legislation goes to die), the Senators addressed House Republicans’ alleged concern over the “rights” given to immigrants in the act. Republicans objected over a procedural issue that granting increasing numbers of visas to undocumented immigrants would collect a fee and thus such a measure needed to originate in the House.
They also objected because even though the visas were coming from unused visas already slated to be granted to immigrants, Republicans fear “fraud” (translation: Women lying about being abused in order to get a visa to live here, because we all know women’s bodies can shut that down when they really want to).
Instead of orginiating the VAWA in the House and thereby fixing this little problem, Republicans killed the entire Violence Agaisnt Women Act. Thus, the Senators have taken out the pertinent section that would give increased visas to immigrants who are victims of domestic violence and hope to address it via immigration overhaul.
Senator Leahy said of the bill, “This life-saving legislation should be a top priority of the new 113th Congress. It is our hope that the Senate will act quickly to pass this strong, bipartisan bill to help all victims of domestic and sexual violence.”
Last year, 68 Senators — including 15 Republicans and all of the female Senators — passed the Violence Against Women Act. They sent it on to the House and naturally it languished there while Republicans instead put up 34 very costly pretend votes to repeal ObamaCare. Womens’ lives at risk a priority? Girl, please.
Nothing says “freedom” and “American exceptionalism” like claiming we went to war to free women in other countries, but if they come here and get terrorized by a man, we turn our backs on them. ‘Cuz, “fraud!”
The Senators left in other sections that offended House Republicans, which grant expanded protections for American Indians and gay people. Goodness knows the patriots wouldn’t want to offer “freedom” from terror to them, even though many of them “fight for our freedoms”. Republicans deny said fighters these same rights. This is what you get in America for not being a white, allegedly straight man (how dare you call them racists!).
If the House ever actually votes on this and then (miracle of miracles) passes it, we could have some important changes in how rape kits are processed that will lead to more prosecutions of perpetrators. Surely the GOP doesn’t want that. But they can’t admit that they don’t want that, so we await their new objection to protecing women from life-threatening violence. Game on, haters.