DDT Issues Second Travel Ban

If we take the “logic” used in DDT’s international immigrant ban to its logical conclusion, DDT could ultimately ban all white men in the United States of America. Here’s the reasoning for this assertion from Slate Magazine using language similar to that which appears in DDT’s revised Executive Order,

1. Whereas research has established that no fatal terrorist attacks in the United States since 2001 have been perpetrated by immigrants or refugees from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, or Yemen;
2. [WHEREAS], at least 22 fatal terror attacks have been carried out in the United States since 2001 by white male United States citizens motivated by white supremacist or otherwise extremist belief;
3. [WHEARAS,] a survey of law enforcement personnel conducted in 2014 found that “sovereign citizens”—adherents of a philosophy with close historic connections to the white supremacist movement—were believed to constitute the single greatest current terrorist threat to the U.S.; and
4. [WHEREAS, by using the logic in the new executive order], until the assessment of current screening and vetting procedures required by Section 2 of this order is completed, the risk of erroneously permitting a white male national of the United States to commit a terrorist act or otherwise harm the national security of the United States is unacceptably high.

 

THEREFORE, DDT and his minions should ban all white men for the same length of time and same manner as described in the revised executive order.

How will he do that? Round up and intern all white men in the US? Isn’t this like the slippery slope of “logic” that created the Holocaust in Nazi Germany? Think for a moment of Martin Niemöller’s (1892–1984) words,

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Socialist.

Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Trade Unionist.

Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
Because I was not a Jew.

Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

 

Let’s NOT go there. The courts need to overturn this and any other immigration ban that 45 puts forward.

We are a country of immigrants. Let’s welcome all. Including people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen, the people of Iraq who were removed in this revision, and the US white sons of immigrants.

Nel's New Day

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has shown that he cares about only three things: making money, revenge, and being admired, but there’s actually a fourth—looking better than his predecessor. From the lies about the size of his inauguration crowds to his level of accomplishments since then, DDT has tried to convince people that everything about him bigger and better than President Obama. DDT’s failures sent him into a rage last weekend that ended up with libelous tweets about the former president being a “bad (or sick) guy.”

At this time of his first term, President Obama had proposed, negotiated, renegotiated, and signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act that brought the nation back from the brink of a deep economic depression. That was after he signed the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act during his first two weeks. DDT has signed a few bills overturning earlier regulations that make the country worse and given…

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Corbett’s at It Again

This time, Corbett is attacking LGBT couples

“Just Close Your Eyes”

Last year, the Pennsylvania General Assembly was considering passage of a transvaginal ultrasound bill to force women to have an unnecessary ultrasound in advance of going to an abortion clinic if they want to terminate their pregnancy. This bill would have required pregnant women to have the intrusive vaginal ultrasound with a video screen pointed at then and then would have required them to carry that report to the clinic the next day along with a signed form indicating that they had the procedure done.  This report would also have to be placed in their medical record despite the fact that this procedure was not medically necessary.

When Pennsylvania Governor Tom Corbett was asked if this was a bill that burdened women, he said that the women who didn’t want the procedure could “Just close their eyes.”

Here’s a clip of that comment (the commentary and the comment start at 02:39 minutes into this video):

This time he says, “I think a much better analogy would have been  brother and sister…”

Now this week, he’s attacking loving gay couples who want to marry just like their heterosexual friends do.  On Friday he responded to another reporter’s question.  He appeared on a Harrisburg TV station program called “Ask the Governor.”  The reporter asked him to comment on the legal argument that his lawyers are proceeding with in a case to stop Montgomery County’s Register of Wills from issuing marriage licenses to gays and lesbians who want to get married in Pennsylvania.

The legal brief compares same-sex marriage to allowing 12-year old children to get married.  His response, just a bit longer than the “Just close your eyes” comment from last year, is just as offensive.  The reporter said to him, “comparing gay marriage to the union of 12-year olds … you called inappropriate.” Corbett responded:

“It was an inappropriate analogy. I think a much better analogy would have been  brother and sister, don’t you? ”

Here’s a clip of this comment:

He later, as with last year’s comment, apologized, saying this time that it’s just a “legal” argument since marrying a 12-year old or having an incestuous marriage, or marrying a person of the same-sex are all illegal.

This is the guy who thinks he represents the Commonwealth?!!?  Women as well as men? I don’t think so! All gays and lesbian couples as well as any heterosexual couple that wants to get married?!!? I don’t think so!

Inappropriate, Offensive, Insensitive, and Hateful

Both of these statements are offensive, insensitive, and hateful.  And, yes just as Corbett later stated they are both inappropriate.  Yet he continues to attack – women, gays, immigrants, etc.  For a sampling of these attacks by Governor Corbett (as well by the Pennsylvania legislature), check out my blog posting earlier this entitled “War on Women in PA: At Least a 20-Year Happening.”

The apologies are not enough.  Corbett has to go.  He needs to be a 1-term Governor in Pennsylvania – something that hasn’t happened since the PA Constitution was amended in 1968 to allow a Governor to succeed himself (or herself, which might change if we ever elect a female governor) with a second term.

The Alternatives (So Far)

We know that Tom Corbett will be the Republican candidate for PA Governor in 2014.  We don’t know who the Democratic (or any other party) candidate will be on the November ballot.  Right now there are at least eight Democrats running: John Hanger, Jo Ellen Litz, Rob McCord, Katy McGinty, Max Myers, Ed Pawlowski, Allyson Schwartz, and Tom Wolf have officially announced and Rep. H. Scott Conklin, Senator Mike Stack, and former Auditor General Jack Wagner are considering a run. We need information on these alternatives.

So I started looking for blogs or commentary on alternatives to Tom Corbett.  So far, there is only one that is not party-based that I could find.  It is written by Cindy Purvis, Treasurer of Healthcare for All PA.  Her blog is titled “Race for PA Governor” and focuses on single-payer healthcare reform.  So check out her blog.

After the fall elections, there should be more websites up that can provide more complete information on the stances of candidates across a wide spectrum of issues, including women’s rights, reproductive justice, marriage equality, and other LGBTQ issues.  One of the best, in my opinion is Project Vote Smart.  Right now there is nothing on any race being held in 2014, but check back later.

Meanwhile, you can let your outrage be known. Contact Tom Corbett by email or phone at 717-787-2500.  Tell him that his wars on women and the LGBT community must stop.  Let him hear your outrage.  Maybe he might reconsider some of his views and actions towards the citizens of Pennsylvania.  I doubt it, but it doesn’t hurt to try.

This Needs To Be Said: Americans Look Like Everyone

Americans are a melting pot of people from all over. We come from everywhere. Some are indigenous to the American continent. Most of us are not and in fact are a blend of many different ethnicities.

In response to the senseless bombing that occurred last week in Boston, I became concerned that we might have a hate-filled backlash against Muslims and Arab people much like what happened after 9-11.

I was beginning to put together a new blog posting on our multiethnic, multiracial society in response to the bombing and the aftermath to say that we need to be accepting of people no matter yours or anyone else’s ethnicity, race, or religion. Just as I began my writing, I got an email noting that Erin Matson had said essentially what I was writing.

So instead, I decided to reblog her posting with some additional comments for all of my readers.

Most religions talk about peace, equality, integrity, and stewardship or caring for others. My personal perspective is in agreement with these religions.  That is, no matter what your race, gender, religion (or non-religion), ability or disability, gender identity, or sexual orientation, we all can agree to accept each other in peace and racial harmony.

So take a moment, look at all of your neighbors and all of the people you come in contact with. Take a breath. Smile. Welcome them. And embrace them.

Our diversity is what makes us human. Accepting, celebrating, and embracing others just for whom they are rather than showing hate and fear should be the mantra for all of us.

Welcome everyone. Take care of yourself and those whom you come into contact with either face to face or in any other way.

Erin Matson

Who didn’t watch the news coverage of the senseless terrorist bombings in Boston with a mixture of horror and sadness? After coverage shifted from deaths and injuries to the Federal Bureau of Investigation releasing photographs of the suspects, some news anchors suggested that you couldn’t tell by the pictures if they were American or not.

Clearly, this needs to be said: Americans look like everyone.

Americans come in every skin color, hue, and shade that pigment and sunlight know how to put together.

Americans are girls, women, boys, and men. There is not a gender identity or sexual orientation that doesn’t look American – in military uniform, in scouting uniform, or in casual clothes.

Americans have faith. Americans don’t have faith. The Constitution contains a declaration of faith that “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” This means that Atheists, Christians…

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US Congress passes Violence Against Women Act: Article via AFP

This article was first posted on Thursday, February 28, 2013 2:12:14 PM.  It gives a very good summary of how the Violence Against Women Act passed and why it took so long.

US Congress passes Violence Against Women Act (via AFP)

After months of partisan delay, the US Congress passed the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday, reauthorizing protections from domestic violence and sexual assault for millions of women. The bill — a reauthorization of legislation first enacted in 1994 but which includes new protections — passed…

About AFP: AFP is a global news agency delivering fast, in-depth coverage of the events shaping our world from wars and conflicts to politics, sports, entertainment and the latest breakthroughs in health, science and technology.

A Further Comment on Violence Against Women and Children on V-Day

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!

President Barack Obama’s Inauguration Speech: Standing for Equality

This morning, on the holiday celebration of Martin Luther King’s birthday, President Barack Obama was publicly sworn into office for his second term as President of the United States.  His inaugural speech was 2,095 words long. It covered many different issues from the role of government to freedom, poverty, the military, education, international interactions, and climate change.

Its over-arching message to me is that as a country and as individuals, we need come together to stand up for equality for all.

President John F. Kennedy, Jr. said something similar in his 1961 inaugural speech when he asked all Americans to help each other. He said then, “And so, my fellow Americans: ask not what your country can do for you—ask what you can do for your country.”

Martin Luther King expressed similar sentiments in his “I Have a Dream Speech” in 1963:

I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: ‘We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal.’

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia, the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at the table of brotherhood. I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a state sweltering with the heat of injustice, sweltering with the heat of oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice. I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character….I have a dream that one day, down in Alabama, with its vicious racists, with its governor having his lips dripping with the words of ‘interposition’ and ‘nullification’ — one day right there in Alabama little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls as sisters and brothers….I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, and every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight; ‘and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed and all flesh shall see it together.’

I hope that Barack Obama’s words resonate as well. In that vein, here is how I think he best spoke about equality for all. Maybe part of this will become part of the lexicon of great Presidential speeches in the future.

We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths – that all of us are created equal – is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk alone; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.

It is now our generation’s task to carry on what those pioneers began. For our journey is not complete until our wives, our mothers, and daughters can earn a living equal to their efforts. Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law – for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal as well. Our journey is not complete until no citizen is forced to wait for hours to exercise the right to vote. Our journey is not complete until we find a better way to welcome the striving, hopeful immigrants who still see America as a land of opportunity; until bright young students and engineers are enlisted in our workforce rather than expelled from our country. Our journey is not complete until all our children, from the streets of Detroit to the hills of Appalachia to the quiet lanes of Newtown, know that they are cared for, and cherished, and always safe from harm.

Our journey is not complete until every one is equal, cared for, cherished, and safe from harm.  Thank you for your inspiring words, Mr. President. May all of usfrom you as leader of the US to each of us in our homes and communitieswork together  to create a better, more accepting country and world.

Fiscal Cliff, Sandy, VAWA and Congress’s Adjournment

Last night, I stayed up to watch the final vote on the Biden-McConnell compromise Fiscal Cliff bill in the US House of Representatives on C-Span. The final vote was 257-167 on the bill. Most of the Republicans voted against the bill and most of the Democrats voted for the bill.

No one on either side of the aisle was particularly happy with this compromise. Yet it was a bipartisan vote, albeit a reluctant one. As economist Joseph LaVorgna of Deustche Bank said after the vote,

“Nothing really has been fixed. There are much bigger philosophical issues that we aren’t even addressing yet.” 

Concerns that were raised by the progressive Democrats who voted against the bill include:

This deal mostly focused on tax cuts, leaving the issue of spending cuts to be handled about two months from now.  This will lead to another fiscal cliff as we butt up against the debt ceiling just like did in August 2011 as well as the sequestration fight that was put off because of this vote.

  1. This deal mostly focused on tax cuts, leaving the issue of spending cuts to be handled about two months from now.  This will lead to another fiscal cliff as we butt up against the debt ceiling just like did in August 2011 as well as the sequestration fight that was put off because of this vote.
    1. The debt ceiling fight will likely occur as early as February when we hit the $16.4 trillion federal borrowing limit so the government can keep paying its bills.
    2. The sequestration battle will occur in March as a direct result of the three-month delay of dealing with spending cuts that was written into the Biden-McConnell bill.
  2. Tax cuts were made permanent while funding for unemployment, a delay in cutbacks on Medicare payments, and an extension of the Farm bill that stopped the price of milk from automatically doubling are only temporary.  As Rep. Rosa DeLuca (D-CT) said on the floor, this bill did not do enough to benefit working families.
  3. Only those making above $400,000 ($450,000 for federally recognized marriages) rather than those making above $250,000 will see an increase in their marginal tax rate. This reduces the amount of additional revenue for balancing the budget. As Senator Tom Harkin said during the Senate debate, the billions lost by raising the threshold to $400,000 will come out of the pockets of grandparents and working families across the nation.”
  4. As a result of this bill, now law, even more draconian cuts to government-sponsored programs will ultimately be seen.  This includes funding for programs like education for our children, job training, and other critical supports for the middle class. And more funds for emergencies are likely to disappear or will be quashed as with what happened with the Sandy relief bill immediately after the fiscal cliff vote.

Philosophical questions about what the federal government should or ought to be paying for can be seen, for example, in two issues of concern to families across the country. Both of these issues failed to be addressed by the House of Representatives before they adjourned just after midnight this morning. They must now start negotiations all over again when the new 2013-2014 Congressional session begins on Thursday, January 4, 2013.

The first issue the House failed to fully address was the passage of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA is the law that provides funding to the Office of Violence against Women (OVW), to law enforcement, and to the judicial system to deal with all forms of interpersonal violence such as domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking. VAWA was originally created in 1995. The bill must be reauthorized every 5 years. This means that the last reauthorization should have occurred in 2010! The hold back? Rather than improving the bill, many members of Congress, particularly Republicans in the US House of Representatives called for both cutbacks in funding and in who will be covered.

Over a belief that any person experiencing interpersonal violence be protected, the US Senate stood firm and refused to consider the exclusionary House VAWA bill that eliminated coverage of college students, immigrants, Native Americans, and LGBTQ people. Since the House refused to take up the Senate bill, reauthorizing VAWA will now have to start all over again in both houses when the new Congress convenes. Meanwhile victims and survivors of interpersonal violence are surviving on a temporary funding basis through March 2013 to cover anti-violence programs to save and improve their lives. Additionally, with the new “fiscal cliff,” – i.e. sequestration – will result in nearly 200,000 fewer victims receiving lifesaving and cost-effective services if both VAWA and sequestration are not resolved by March.

The second issue that the House failed to address was emergency appropriations to assist the victims of last October’s Super Storm Sandy. The vote on the fiscal cliff bill occurred at about 11:45 pm last night. Immediately after that, the Presiding Chair of the House, Rep. Steve Womack (R-AR), called for one-minute speeches. The second speaker was Rep. Steny Hoyer (D-MD). He announced that Speaker of the House John Boehner had pulled the bill and that as a result there would be no emergency funding for the victims of Hurricane Sandy forthcoming from this session of Congress.

At that point, Representatives from both parties from across the country began speaking out in anger and frustration that the people who were victimized by this natural disaster would not receive the emergency funding desperately needed to put food and warm housing over their heads at this winter time. Here are some of the comments made some of the Representatives of both parties on the floor and again this morning:

“This Congress is apparently leaving town without responding to [the Sandy] emergency. I am deeply disappointed … and the people who have been damaged by Sandy, including Gov. [Chris] Christie, a Republican, and Gov. [Andrew] Cuomo, a Democrat, should be deeply disappointed, and yes, angry, that this Congress would adjourn without addressing the pain of our fellow citizens.” – Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in his opening comment.

“To those who say FEMA has not yet disbursed all the funds it has to assist families and businesses, I would tell them, they deeply underestimate the damage in these areas and the wide range of assistance required to alleviate the pain and suffering.” – Steny Hoyer (D-MD) in a comment made about nine hours later in response to Rep. Eric Canter’s (R-VA) remark that funds weren’t urgently needed.

“I can’t imagine that type of indifference, that type of disregard, that cavalier attitude being shown to any other part of the country.” – Peter King (R-NY)

“I don’t think I’ve ever been as angry as I am tonight. For us in the Northeast to be treated this way is absolutely unconscionable. Tonight I am ashamed. Shame on you, Mr. Speaker.”Eliot Engel (D-NY)

“It is with an extremely heavy heart that I stand here, almost in disbelief and somewhat ashamed. It’s inexcusable. And I am here tonight saying to myself, for the first time, that I’m not proud of the decision my team has made.”Michael Grimm (R-NY)

For more comments from other representatives and a video of what happened, check out the ABC News article and video.

Adjournment without dealing with pressing issues of our citizenry. Philosophical differences resulting in gridlock and endangerment to people across the country. We need to stop throwing people under the bus. Shame on the 112th Congress!

We need to have a Congress that cares. Hopefully the new 113th Congress will be more willing to see and work on the concerns and needs of our country.

That’s my wish for the New Year.

Violence against Women and Children: A Worldwide, National, and Local Epidemic

Violence against women and children is a worldwide, national, and local epidemic.

Yesterday, a 23-year-old medical student died in a Singapore hospital of injuries she sustained December 16, 2012 in a gang rape and severe beating on a bus in New Delhi, India. She was attacked by six men who took turns raping her and beating both her and her male friend, stripping both of them, and then throwing them off the bus.  This is just one of many forms of femicide that have occurred in India, which include rape, sexual assault, honor killings, killing of girls 5 years and younger by starvation and violence, and dowry-related murders, among others.

This is just part of the world-wide epidemic of violence against women.  According to One Billion Rising, one in three women will be beaten or raped during her lifetime.  According to the United Nations,

Violence against women takes a dismaying variety of forms, from domestic abuse and rape to child marriages and female circumcision. All are violations of the most fundamental human rights.

Forms of violence vary by country, from sex-selection abortions in countries that value men over women, to female genital mutilation that leaves women maimed and traumatized, to forced marriages, to sexual harassment and intimidation at work, to trafficking and prostitution, to rape, incest, domestic violence, murder, and rape as a weapon of war. Some of this violence occurs within the family home.  Some of this violence occurs within the community.  And some of this violence is perpetrated by the state.  It can be physical, sexual, and/or psychological.  All forms are traumatic and in some instances, deadly.

UniFem’s data on violence against women is even starker than that presented by One Billion Rising.  They report that up to 70 percent of women and girls experience sexual or physical violence during their lifetime. Among women ages 15-44, the incidence of this form of violence – mostly perpetrated by husbands, intimate partners, or people the women know – accounts for more disability and deaths than occur from cancer, malaria, traffic accidents, and war combined.

In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control reports a pervasive problem of “intimate partner violence (IPV).”  This is defined as rape, physical violence, and stalking by a current or former intimate partner, either gay or straight of either sex or gender identity.  On average, 24 people experience some form of IPV every minute in the US.  This is over 12 million women (mostly) and some men each year, including 1 million women who are raped each year.

This violence occurs against both children and adults.  The majority of victims are women and girls, but they also include some men and young boys, such as the young boys here in Centre County, PA who were victimized by former PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky.  As a women’s rights activist, I have been speaking out against all forms of violence against women and children since at least 1994.  You can see a history of the local issues on the National NOW website here, and here as well as in The Nation.

There is a question that this info raises in my mind. What is the status of protections to reduce violence against women locally, in the US, and around the world? The picture/answer to this question is not great.

Locally, two cases of violence have made national news.  The most well-known case is that of former PSU football coach Jerry Sandusky; he was found guilty on 45 of 48 charges related to child sexual assault and is now essentially serving a life sentence in the state penitentiary.  Penn State University received a 60 million dollar sanction from the NCAA for failure to properly handle intimate partner violence, particularly child sexual abuse  within the Athletic department, and Judge Louis Freeh issued a scathing indictment against PSU’s upper administration, the Athletics’ department, and the Board of Trustees for covering up, failing to protect potential and actual victims of sexual violence, and failing to provide appropriate board oversight. And the University could face severe fines for failure to report IPV incidences to the US Department of Education under the Clery Act.  Despite these sanctions, violence on campus still continues.  The other case is the murder here in Centre County of PSU alumna Amy Homan McGee in 2001 by her husband, Vincent.  What happened in this domestic violence case was made into a 2010 PBS documentary titled “Telling Amy’s Story.”

These cases are just two examples among many that occur here at the local level. According to the State College, PA police department, there were 76 reported cases of domestic violence and 29 cases of sexual assault in the borough alone in 2011-2012.  Yet the incidence appears to be much higher.  According to the Centre County Women’s Resource Center, over 1,000 people in the county were known to be affected by domestic violence and another 200 reported being sexually assaulted throughout the entire county during the same time period.

To assist victims of stalking, domestic violence, and sexual assault, our local community created a county-wide task force of service providers and advocates to assist, education, and advocate for the reduction and elimination of all forms of IPV.  This task force has been in existence for 20+ years.  This task force is doing a decent job of working on IPV issues and providing services and education to the community, but is now facing ever increasing funding issues.

Funding for programs at the local level come largely from state and national governments.  Both levels of funding are in jeopardy.  Here in PA, for example, Governor Corbett eliminated General Assistance funding for everyone on August 1, 2012; a larger plurality of the recipients of this very limited funding were women fleeing domestic violence who used the minimal monies available to find housing for themselves and their children.

At the national level, Congress has failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which provides funding to the Office of Violence against Women (OVW), to law enforcement, and to the judicial system to deal with all forms of IPV.  VAWA was originally created in 1995.  The bill must be reauthorized every 5 years. This means that the last reauthorization should have occurred in 2010!  The holdback?  Rather than improving the bill, many members of Congress, particularly Republicans in the US House of Representatives are calling for both cutbacks in funding and who will be covered.  We are now at a standstill since, appropriately, the US Senate is standing firm on ensuring that all victims of domestic violence, sexual assault, and stalking – including college students, immigrants, Native Americans, and LGBTQ people – are covered.  The new session of Congress will convene in January 2013 and an entirely new bill will have to be crafted.  Meanwhile victims and survivors of IPV are surviving on a temporary funding basis through March 2013 to cover anti-violence programs to save and improve their lives.  Additionally, the looming “fiscal cliff,” sequestration will result in nearly 200,000 fewer victims receiving lifesaving and cost-effective services.

And returning to the international level, the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW) has a clear statement that all countries that have signed the treaty take “appropriate” steps to eliminate violence against women and girls.  The US signed the treaty in 1980 but never ratified it.  India ratified CEDAW in 1993, but as can be seen from recent events there, doesn’t enforce this obligation.

So where does this leave us?

Action is needed.  We need to get out on the streets and call for full funding of programs designed to reduce and eliminate violence.  Eve Ensler is organizing One Billion Rising on February 14, 2013.  Her call states,

We are calling on ONE BILLION women and those who love them to WALK OUT, DANCE, RISE UP, and DEMAND an end to this violence.

It is a one-day strike and an “invitation to dance” that calls for the end of all forms of violence against women and children. If you are interested in joining women and those who love them from around the world, you can download the One Billion Rising toolkit to plan your event here.

You can also take action by telling leaders here in India as well as here in the US and in your state that enough is enough.

  1. Tell the Indian Prime Minister to meet the three demands of the women of India – 1) talk directly to the women of India about how you will deal with this violence, 2) begin expediting cases against Indian politicians who have records of alleged rape and other charges of violence against women, and 3) immediately reinstate Police Woman Damayanti Sen who was fired after she protected a gang-rape victim;
  2. Contact your US Representative and US Senators. Tell them to immediately introduce a new bill similar to the 2011-2012 Senate bill (S.1925) that covers ALL victims of violence.  This needs to be passed before March 2013 when the temporary funding extension that passed in November ends.  The new bill needs to be comprehensive and include all current victims of violence as well as battered immigrant women, Native American Women, LGBTQ persons, and violence survivors on college campuses.  You can find out more information about this issue on the National NOW website, including several links to action alerts on VAWA.  Also, tell your US Senators to finally vote for and ratify CEDAW without any reservations.
  3. Learn more about what your state’s laws and funding for programs on violence against women provide.  A good source of information for each state can be found on the OVW website; there is a page on that website that links you to resources in each state.  Once you get to your state’s links, you should be able to find action alerts and information to help improve funding and programs within your state.