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1994 Violence Against Women Act 25/26 years later

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posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 08:13 PM
The Violence Against Women Act Was Signed 25 Years Ago. Here's How the Law Changed American Culture

Here is a Time magazine article about the 1994 Violence Against Women Act written by Joe Biden; the legislation he is “proudest” of from his career in the Senate. Some times even those we oppose the most deserve to be given credit for their past accomplishments.


SEPTEMBER 12, 2019 10:12 PM EDT

Before President Bill Clinton signed the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) into law as part of the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act on Sept. 13, 1994, domestic abusers could cross state lines to avoid prosecution for beating their spouses, as law enforcement was not to required to listen to orders of protection filed in other states. Police officers were also generally discouraged from intervening in domestic violence cases.

Today, many experts credit VAWA with contributing to a dramatic decrease in the rate of domestic violence in the United States. According to the U.S. Department of Justice, the overall rate of intimate-partner violence dropped 64% from 1993 to 2010.

Lawyers who helped to draft the bill say that part of the reason the legislation has been so successful is that it has helped to create a profound cultural change, and has encouraged Americans to take gender-based violence seriously.

A 64% drop in domestic violence (or intimate-partner violence) is a great accomplishment and a profound cultural change that we can all be happy with even if our political opposition are responsible for it.

But how does the VAWA stand up in the current climate where we as a society are reexamining our criminal justice system and the role of law enforcement?


By Melissa Jeltsen

06/05/2020 06:23 PM ET

The 1994 Violence Against Women Act, written by then-Sen. Joe Biden, flushed more than $1 billion into shelters and training for law enforcement, prosecutors and judges, with the intention of situating domestic violence squarely within the realm of the criminal justice system. 

At the time, some women of color warned that making police the central response for domestic violence conflicts would backfire. “We know that the police are a source of violence in our communities, not just a deterrent to it,” Mari Matsuda, then a professor at Georgetown Law, wrote in Ms. Magazine in 1994. “We also know that violence against women is endemic and that the police don’t come when a woman from the ‘wrong’ part of town dials 911.”

Still, many hoped that better policing might stem the violence.

“Now we know it doesn’t,” said Leigh Goodmark, a law professor at the University of Maryland. “We have the data that shows involvement in the criminal legal system does not deter intimate partner violence, does not lower rates of intimate partner violence, and it does not make violence less severe.”

These days, domestic violence calls constitute the single largest category of calls received by police. Under VAWA, over $8 billion has been pumped into grant programs to address violence against women, with much of it directed toward police and prosecutors. But the issue has hardly been resolved. Although rates of domestic violence have plummeted since the 1990s, so has the overall crime rate, raising doubt about whether VAWA, and its focus on criminal justice solutions, deserves the full credit.

“We’ve trained police, we’ve trained prosecutors, we’ve poured money into that system,” Goodmark said. “One has to ask, what has that money bought us?”

Its interesting that the VAWA has not aged well in the last few months; From the Times calling the VAWA "so successful" and crediting it for a 64% drop in intimate-partner violence last September; To the Huffpost calling it a relative flop two months ago.

Not only a flop; the Huffpost also seems to be making the case that the VAWA, Joe Biden's proudest peace of legislation; may have only served to exasperate the current state of over policing we now find ourselves in. By poring money in to the system and only leading to more violence in minority communities.

violence against women has long been exploited by policymakers as justification for expanding the criminal justice system and shutting down reform, as sujatha baliga, a leader in the restorative justice space who advises on domestic violence cases across the U.S., has observed. Recently, concerns over domestic violence victims have been used to mount attacks against bail reform in New York and to increase sentence lengths in Oklahoma.

VAWA, she noted, was passed as part of the controversial 1994 crime bill, which encouraged states to adopt harsher criminal justice policies, provided funds to build more prisons, and contributed to the mass incarceration crisis today.

I wonder if Joe Biden understands the mistake he made in exploiting violence against women when he sought to expand the criminal justice system? I wonder if he agrees that his proudest legislation has had the unintended consequence of delivering more, not less, violence to minority communities? Or does he disagree with the Huffpost and still believe the VAWA was successful at lowering intimate-partner violence by 64%. I wonder if the Times would still have published their article today 10 months later?

edit on 28-8-2020 by DanDanDat because: (no reason given)

posted on Aug, 28 2020 @ 11:12 PM
The odd thing is that as far as I know violence against women was actually illegal before the act.

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 05:22 AM
a reply to: Fools

I know right?
It's almost like they made new laws that make it illegal to do crime.
We see it in the firearm world almost every day.

Don't forget- you pay these peoples salary

posted on Aug, 29 2020 @ 08:18 AM

originally posted by: Fools
The odd thing is that as far as I know violence against women was actually illegal before the act.

Violence may have been illegal prior to the act; but according to then pro-Biden Times article and the unflattering Huffpost article before the act domestic violence was largely ignored by most of society and the justice system; women had to suffer alone.

However last September the VAWA was seen to have been very successful, drooping the domestic violence rate by 64%. However this September that analysis from a year ago was largely in error. Now the VAWA is seen as a flop that may have brought more violence to vulnerable communities than it removed; where the 64% drop in domestic violence is the result of the drop in crime over all and not the result of the VAWA. The VAWA is now seen as nothing more than an attempt by Joe Biden and Clinton to expand the criminal justice system at the expense of people of color.

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