Joe Biden Should Stop Bragging About the Violence Against Women Act

Article here. Excerpt:

'The idea that the U.S. ignored domestic violence until Biden and boomer feminists came along has become a popular one. But it doesn't square with the historical record, which shows not only that feminists have long prioritized stopping domestic abuse, but that there has long been a divide between those who believe that mandating aggressive police intervention helps women, and those who see law enforcement as doing more harm than good. Understanding that divide is necessary for understanding not only how VAWA came to pass, but why it has failed to accomplish its stated goals.

Finally, feminist activists like Catharine MacKinnon and Andrea Dworkin argued that violence against individual women wasn't just violence against individual women but a form of terorrism or hate that men perpetuated based on gender, and that the state not stopping this was a violation of women's civil rights. As Gruber wrote in The Feminist War on Crime, feminist lawyers convinced courts "that battered women had a right to state action. But it was one kind of state action—arrest. Within short order, this right became compulsory, and a battered woman could not waive the 'right' to her husband's arrest."
Perhaps these policies would have just been a quick fad, as more and more research accumulated challenging their wisdom and suggesting they actually put women in more danger. But then came Joe Biden.
It was against this backdrop that Biden introduced his first version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) in 1990. Biden had already latched onto criminal justice as a signature issue in the '80s, pushing harsher sentences, more police, and more prisons as a response to rising crime. This wasn't just a policy response; it was a political strategy designed to respond to Republican attacks positioning Democrats as soft on crime. By 1994, Biden could be found bragging that "the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is now for 60 new death penalties," and "the liberal wing of the Democratic Party is for 125,000 new state prison cells."

Like so much of the era's tough-on-crime rhetoric, Biden's case for VAWA was littered with panicky pronouncements unrooted in fact. "During her lifetime, one in five women will be raped," Biden told Senate colleagues in January 1991, previewing a junk statistic that he would rebrand during his vice presidency as one in four women. "Last year, more women were battered by their spouses than were married," he said (again without citation or evidence), adding that "authorities are more likely to arrest a man for parking tickets than for beating his wife."'

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