Women are fleeing the GOP for good reason. After years of a policy war on women, the Republican shutdown of government is closing rape centers around the country, and preventing rapes from being investigated.
As 8 in 10 shelters report more women seeking help and 60% report worse violence than before the recession, Republicans (who did their share to cause the recession and have refused to pass a jobs bill or any other legislation aimed at easing the pain on the middle class and poor) are closing domestic violence shelters. Think Progress reported on October 4:
Domestic violence programs across the country say they have received letters from federal offices that dole out grant money informing them that after Friday, if the government is not reopened, they will cease operations and the programs won’t be able to draw down the funds they normally rely on. While some may be able to weather the storm, small, rural programs and those that rely heavily on federal money are looking at layoffs and disruptions in service.
In Tennessee, a rape crisis center warned that the shutdown would obstruct victims from becoming survivors:
“It would cause us to reduce shelter beds. It would cause us to reduce staff time and reducing staff. You’re reducing services, and they are very critical to victims. Victims need to be able to become survivors,” Senior Director Regina McDevit told News Channel 9. “We served over 200 victims (of domestic violence) last year. We provide crisis counseling. Safety planning is critical, trying to help people get out safely when they’re ready to leave.”
In case it’s unclear, women and children go to these shelters when their lives are threatened and they have nowhere else to turn. Republicans are making a big show of offering bills to fund government programs they agree with (the Pentagon, of course), while they ignore human suffering and need– especially if the people suffering are women or other “minorities”.
On October 7th, Think Progress reported that the shutdown was preventing investigations into sexual assaults. “The government shutdown, which has now stretched on for nearly a week, is preventing the U.S. Department of Education from continuing to work on sexual assault investigations into college campuses across the country.”
These are not the programs the GOP has any interest in refunding in their piecemeal publicity stunt, either. After all, the House refused to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act for months. Instead they proposed legislation so egregious it was known as the Pro-Violence Against Women Act. It actually rewarded abusers.
Republicans snigger about rape victims, and seem to secretly believe in the existence “legitimate” rape, which negates any other kind of rape. At some point, we have to ask ourselves, why are they so against investigating rapes? Why are Republicans so against helping victims of domestic violence? This is the party that tried to rebrand victims as “accusers”. It’s as if they are protecting predators deliberately.
Meanwhile, President Obama has just made history by nominating Janet Yellen to be the next chair of the Federal Reserve, who won Senate confirmation to her original term on the Federal Reserve in a 94-6 vote.
The National Organization for Women issued a statement congratulating Yellen, and pointing out that she will bring an awareness of the importance of unemployment to the Fed, “President Obama’s nomination of Janet Yellen is great news for women, working families, the elderly and everyone struggling in today’s economy. Under her leadership, the Federal Reserve will acknowledge that bringing down unemployment is no less important than keeping inflation in check.”
This is a stark example of the difference between the Republican and Democratic parties on issues of gender equality and equal rights and protection under the law. Meanwhile, women are unimpressed with the Republican party in recent polls — and they were already disgusted (see 2012). Big tent, GOP.
Image: Business Insider
Ms. Jones is the editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.