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Is A Future Free of Domestic Abuse Possible?

In the United States, one in four women have experienced violence by a partner. Globally, one in three
women will be abused during her lifetime.

For over 30 years, Futures Without Violence (FWV), a women-oriented organization, has been active in the fight against abuse and violence inflicted on women, children, and families. The organization is always looking to develop something new as it trains professionals on the warning signs of domestic abuse, how to combat sexual assault on college campuses, how to prevent human trafficking, and much, much more. In its mission statement, FWV says, “Our vision is a future without violence that provides education, safety, justice, and hope.”

While FWV continues to do good work within the United States, domestic violence still runs rampant gobally. Many argue that issues arise when the government feels that its input is not justified or even wanted within private family life. In Russia, lawmakers are attempting to push back on current regulations protecting women and children from domestic violence. In 2013, the New York Times reported that 9,000 women in Russia died in criminal assaults and 25% of those murders were committed within families. That number is astronomical compared to that of the U.S., which has double Russia’s population and an average of 1,000 female domestic violence related deaths in a year.

Regarding its work with policy makers, FWV played a large role in manufacturing the Violence Against Women Act, which Congress passed in 1994 under the Clinton administration. This was a historic piece of legislation that mirrored the solutions FWV sought for domestic violence and sexual assault in the United States. Advancing health and education for women, men, boys, and girls is one of the act’s many goals, but it also calls for reform in the criminal justice system and urges average citizens to be more active in preventing violence.

In 2000 and 2005, the VAWA was revised and expanded. These expansions have had a positive impact, as they expanded grant programs to protect victims of sexual assault and stalking rather than just solely protecting women from domestic violence. The act again faced renewal in 2012, which caused problems among some lawmakers. An act that was once bipartisan seemed to spark new controversies between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate. Republicans, including current Attorney General Jeff Sessions, found issues over the efforts to include and protect same-sex couples and members of Indian tribes.

The VAWA had previously faced issues upon its initial passing in 1994 regarding the private civil rights remedy. In 2000, the United States v. Morrison court case declared that this specific part of the act was unconstitutional. Opponents of this section thought it would bring irrelevant family matters to the highest court in the land.

Although this section of the act did not pass, many disagree with its rejection, arguing that nothing regarding the safety of women and children could ever be considered trivial. In its continuous fight against  workplace abuse, the FWV argues that, “Domestic and sexual violence and stalking aren’t ‘personal’ or ‘private’ problems that stay at home. It happens frequently in the workplace, and can jeopardize the safety of employees and negatively impact the productivity and profitability of businesses.”

When violence interferes with the economy, perhaps all policy makers should agree that this issue matters, regardless of party.

Featured Image by Parsstudio on  Flickr
Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)

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