Cantwell “Furious” At GOP Opposition to Violence Against Women Act

By:  Erica Barnett
Source: Publicola

Legislation that would broaden and extend the reach of the Violence Against Women Act, which funds programs that protect women suffering from domestic violence, is under harsh opposition from Republicans in the US Senate, and Washington State Sen. Maria Cantwell says she’s “furious” that the ongoing war on women in Congress has expanded to target not just abortion and contraception but the ability of battered women to access domestic-violence services.

“I am furious,” Cantwell said.. “We’re mad, and we’re tired of it.”

The reasons for the Republicans’ opposition, according to the New York Times:

The legislation would continue existing grant programs to local law enforcement and battered women shelters, but would expand efforts to reach Indian tribes and rural areas. It would increase the availability of free legal assistance to victims of domestic violence, extend the definition of violence against women to include stalking, and provide training for civil and criminal court personnel to deal with families with a history of violence. It would also allow more battered illegal immigrants to claim temporary visas, and would include same-sex couples in programs for domestic violence.

So, in short, Republicans are arguing that: Native and rural women shouldn’t be covered by domestic violence laws; low-income battered women should have to pay for their own lawyers; stalking is A-OK; court officials shouldn’t be trained to deal with domestic violence; undocumented immigrants should be forced to return to abusive relationships; and battered lesbians should have no legal protections.

Much like the Republicans’ war on contraception, their opposition to domestic-violence protection funding sounds like a real winning strategy for 2012.