I received a comment on LinkedIn this morning in response to my posting titled VAWA Passes Senate: One Step Toward Ending the Climate of Indifference Towards Violence Against Women. My status statement said, “Feb 14 is V-Day. Rise to end indifference towards violence against women.” A man in one of the groups I am a member of responded with a question:
So, please explain how we are being “indifferent” towards violence against women. There are laws against violent attacks on any human being – women included. Are these laws being ignored in cases where a woman is the victim?
I think not.
What we see here is another group who wishes to reap the benefits of victim status whether the facts bear them out or not. Beware of those who believe that they deserve special treatment – especially when that special treatment comes at the expense of others.
His question deserves a response. Which I gave him within LinkedIn. Since there are many others how might have a similar question but aren’t on LinkedIn, I’m commenting here as well.
The Violence Against Women Re-Authorization Act (VAWA S.47) does not call for special treatment of anyone. VAWA is calling on fair treatment of ALL victims of violence.
A climate of indifference is a climate where attacks against others – sexual assault, acquaintance or domestic violence, sexual harassment, and stalking– are ignored, covered up, or made light of. And in some instances, the climate of indifference is perpetuated when the alleged perpetrator is treated more lightly than someone else who may have committed the assault simply because of his status or affiliation.
That’s what has partially been happening with the Athletics program at Penn State University since 1994 and which helped lead to the situation of the child sexual assaults done by Jerry Sandusky. That’s part of what is happening in Steubenville, OH in the rape case where perpetrators made a video of themselves and others carrying a teenage girl from one house to another and raping her. That’s what led to the DC police refusing to take a police report last week from a friend of mine after a man exposed himself to her and masturbated because she didn’t stay with the man until the police came!
In addition, VAWA’s re-authorization has been delayed for over two years because some legislators – mostly Republican, including the majority of the US House of Representatives – are indifferent to the violence perpetrated on Native Americans, immigrants, and gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgendered persons. This “indifference” towards violence against specific people is based solely on the victim’s status, is disparate treatment, and IMO is discriminatory.
Yes there are laws in place. Yet, until all victims are treated fairly and in a timely fashion, I will continue to call out people and communities for creating a climate of indifference that allows this to continue. All people need to live in safe communities and homes.
Ending this climate of indifference wherever it occurs is a start towards caring for our loved ones. PASS VAWA NOW!