Opinion: VAWA is an insult to fairness

Article here. Excerpt:

'November was Native American Heritage Month. But the focus then and since has been almost entirely upon Native American women. It is rare for the problems of Native American men to receive so much as a nod.

The women deserve attention. An Associated Press headlined “Despite past reforms, Native women face high rates of crime,” explains, “For generations, Native American women have been victimized at astonishing rates, with federal figures showing that more than half have encountered sexual and domestic violence at some point during their lives — even amid a wave of efforts aimed at reducing such crimes.” The men deserve attention, as well.

One of the “wave of efforts” mentioned by the Associated Press is the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA, H.R.6545), which determines federal and funding policy on sexual violence. Currently before Congress, VAWA will either be reauthorized or it will be extended into early 2019 for reauthorization at that point. Native American women is a core issue in the Act. The section “Safety for Indian Women” cites a stunning statistic from a National Intimate Partner and Sexual Violence Survey entitled “Violence Against American Indian and Alaska Native Women and Men.” It states, “More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native women, or 84.3 percent, have experienced violence in their lifetime.”

There is a curious omission in the VAWA citation, however. A statistic appears immediately after the 84.3 percent one. It is: “More than 4 in 5 American Indian and Alaska Native men (81.6 percent) have experienced violence in their lifetime.” That is only 2.7 percent less violence experienced by men than by women. A few lines later, the survey reports that “55.5 percent” of women and “43.2 percent” of men “have experienced physical violence by an intimate partner.” Those figures differ by 12.3 percent.

The omission highlights an objection that has been associated with VAWA since its inception in 1994. What about male victims? In this specific case, where are the Native American men? The title of the Act provides an answer: the Violence Against Women Act. Male victims of violence are not a concern addressed by the bill.  Why not?'

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