Violence Against Women Act passes!

Good news – VAWA (the Violence Against Women Act) has passed reauthorization in both the Senate and the House, with a 20% increase in funding. It will not have to be reauthorized again until 2010.

VAWA, among other things, funds grants to shelters and other programs assisting victims of domestic violence. It also funds some high-quality federal research on subjects like rape, domestic violence, and stalking, which although not the most important thing VAWA does, is one reason I’m such a big fan of it.

This Mother Jones article will give interested readers a sense of the stuff VAWA funds. If you’re really interested, you can also read over the testimony given at the US Senate Committee Meeting on VAWA.

Another interesting change: Men’s Right’s Advocates succeeded in getting some new language put into VAWA:

In this part, and in any other Act of Congress, unless the context unequivocally requires otherwise, a provision authorizing or requiring the Department of Justice to make grants, or to carry out other activities, for assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, or trafficking in persons, shall be construed to cover grants that provide assistance to female victims, male victims, or both.

I’m glad that provision has been added; I’m not convinced that VAWA was being generally applied in a way that excluded men (despite the unfortunate title, most of VAWA is written in scrupulously gender-neutral language), but having nondiscrimination explicitly stated in the legislation is still a good thing.

On the other hand, it worries me that some of the MRAs who are happy over this new language see it as the first step towards eliminating VAWA entirely. Here’s an exchange from a men’s rights forum:

RUSS: Actually I would like to see VAWA disappear, not just word-adjusted… government is intruding WAY TOO MUCH into people’s personal lives and defining too many situations which should be left to the parties involved as ‘criminal’… ”

DR. EVIL: Of course we would all like to see it disappear. You can’t stop a runaway freight train by snapping your fingers. We needed this to start the process of slowing it down. This is an important first step. There is more planned. We are on our way.

So much for the claim that MRAs aren’t seeking to defund shelters for women. (To be fair, perhaps the MRAs quoted above – despite Dr. Evil’s statement – don’t speak for all MRAs).

UPDATE: Dr. Evil has implied that he wants to eliminate VAWA but somehow replace the funding VAWA provides to shelters. So he’s anti-VAWA, but pro-funding-shelters. My apologies to Dr. Evil for my misunderstanding.

This entry posted in Anti-feminists and their pals, Rape, intimate violence, & related issues. Bookmark the permalink. 

79 Responses to Violence Against Women Act passes!

  1. Pingback: feminist blogs

  2. Pingback: Pandagon

  3. Pingback: The Countess' Journal

  4. Pingback: The Countess

  5. Pingback: blackfeminism.org

  6. Pingback: Sour Duck's link blog

  7. Pingback: Cool Beans

  8. Pingback: The New Charm School: Jennifer Warwick’s Blog for Gutsy Women

  9. 9
    silverside says:

    Actually, I think the FR’s are quite pro-violence, disgustingly so.

    For reasons I don’t quite understand, I get email from some Canadian FR extremists. Those of you with a long memory may recall a man named Mark Lepine who murdered several women in Montreal out of some bizarre hatred of “feminists.” It was over a decade ago now. Feminists in Canada have turned the aniversary into a commemoration for all victims of violence against women.

    The FR guys–I am not making this up–want to set up the anniversary as a day to commemorate Mark Lepine. As in Mark Lepine day. Great. Just what we need. A holiday dedicated to a mass killer. A guy named David Millar is on record as in favor of it.

  10. 10
    Myca says:

    Re: Mark Lepine Day:

    That’s just . . . oh gods, I don’t even have anything clever to say. It makes me wish I was Canadian just so I could vote against any commemoration of that psychopath.

    —Myca

  11. 11
    RonF says:

    What’s an FR?

  12. 12
    Mendy says:

    RonF

    Father’s Rights (Activist) or group, IIRC.

  13. 13
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Those MRA men are creepy creeps. It’s disgusting how they gloat about potential harm to an act that is meant to keep people from harm, as if somehow this is a good thing – ‘oh goody, soon I can start smacking around my woman again without any criminal recompense’. What assholes.

  14. 14
    David Miller says:

    Silverside,

    Quotes or links on that statement please?

    By the way, David Miller is the Mayor of Toronto. It’s a village in Canada. They are probably going to erect a statue of Marc Lepine next to the Stalin Fountain in Hitler Memorial Square.

    I heard the US Congress is voting on whether to pass Jeffrey Dahlmer Day next month.

    Perhaps you can keep us informed?

  15. 15
    Daran says:

    Re: Mark Lepine Day:

    That’s just . . . oh gods, I don’t even have anything clever to say. It makes me wish I was Canadian just so I could vote against any commemoration of that psychopath.

    Why would you want to vote on an email sent by some nutter to silverside?

    It’s not as though anyone serious is campaigning for this.

  16. 16
    Jakobpunkt says:

    It’s a village in Canada.
    Yeah, a “village” of 4.5 million people. I think most of us would call that a “city”?

    Canada never gets any respect. *grump*

  17. 17
    Myca says:

    Why would you want to vote on an email sent by some nutter to silverside?

    What gave you that impression? I don’t see the word ‘email’ anywhere in her original comment. She said:

    The FR guys”“I am not making this up”“want to set up the anniversary as a day to commemorate Mark Lepine. As in Mark Lepine day.

    Now, granted, “Mark Lepine Day” seems like an extraordinarily unlikely thing to pass, but considering how our very own president has used the anniversary of Roe V. Wade to mark “Sanctity of Life Day”, the anniversary of the death of Matthew Shepard to mark “Sanctity of Marraige Day” (or whatever that shit was called), and some MLK-related day to campaign against Affirmitive Action . . . well . . . let’s just say that I’ve nearned never to underestimate the depths some people will sink to.

    —-Myca

  18. 18
    Glaivester says:

    What gave you that impression? I don’t see the word ‘email’ anywhere in her original comment.

    In the first paragraph, silverside stated:

    For reasons I don’t quite understand, I get email from some Canadian FR extremists.

    As the only intervening sentences between this and the statement

    The FR guys”“I am not making this up”“want to set up the anniversary as a day to commemorate Mark Lepine. As in Mark Lepine day.

    were an explanation of who Mark Lepine was, presumably the FR’s who sent her an email are the ones who wanted to commemorate the day.

  19. 19
    Myca says:

    Ahh, you’re right. I missed that. Many apologies.

    In any case, being south of the border, I’m not really familiar with how crazy, exactly, Canadian politics is. I’ll take the word of any Canadians around if they say that this isn’t likely to be taken seriously by anyone.

    —Myca

  20. 20
    David Miller says:

    I think all feminists should campaign to have the day changed from “Marc Lepine Day” to the “National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women”.

  21. 21
    Kyra says:

    RUSS: Actually I would like to see VAWA disappear, not just word-adjusted… government is intruding WAY TOO MUCH into people’s personal lives and defining too many situations which should be left to the parties involved as ‘criminal’… ”

    I really don’t think the victims of these crimes mind the government’s intrusion all that much.

    Or is he suggesting that if I were to show up and beat him senseless, that should be “left to the parties involved?” Or would I have to go out with him first for that to count?

    I’ll just bet that the only reason they’re complaining about this “intrusion” is that domestic violence is overwhelmingly male-on-female. If it were to consist mostly of women beating up, stalking, killing, etc. men, they’d be bending over backwards in suport of an act like this.

    Re: M— L—– Day: Why the fuck is everybody saying his name?! He deserves to be forgotten; let our memories be devoted to the women he murdered.

  22. 22
    Myca says:

    M… L…”“ Day: Why the fuck is everybody saying his name?! He deserves to be forgotten.

    This seems like an odd objection. I’m puzzled. I suspect he’ll be forgotten as most mass murderers are, with time and distance and more horrible and immediate crimes blotting out his memory.

    It doesn’t seem disrespectful to women say his name any more than it would be disrespectful to Jewish people to use Adolf Hitler’s name in a discussion of how horrible he was. I may just be missing something, though. Please clarify.

    —Myca

  23. 23
    silverside says:

    David Miller, calm down. It ain’t you. It’s David Millar.

    Here’s the text of the email. It’s a tad incoherent, but I guess sociopaths can be that way. If you want additional confirmation, I suppose I could provide Millar’s email address. Might be interesting to see if he owns up to this racist, violent garbage. I just hope this guy isn’t clever enought to track me down. I think he’s truly dangerous.
    ———————————————————————————————
    Well, …What was that Shawn Colvin song from 10 years or so ago, “Sunny Came Home” (with a vengeance)?

    I suppose it is a bit of the prodigal son returns- to the man hating femmunists that created him? Always struck me odd that the femmunists were in fact actually ‘honoring their own handiwork” so to speak, in organizing marches on Dec 6th to remember the ‘something something’ of the ‘so-and-so’.

    Speaking of December, what do you call a guy who’s half black and half Japanese?

    Well, I can’t think what to call him either, but there’s got to be a name for a guy who, EVERY year, on December the 7th, – a date which will live in infamy – suddenly and deliberately attacks Pearl Bailey.

    If you want to make it an official Mark Lepine day, it will be necessary to start petitioning Parliament – there is an official procedure that must be followed if you’re serious about this..

    Or is this just an informal vote? Where and when is the poll? I’m in! -dwm-

    Sender wrote:
    Vote in favour of making December 6 a national holiday in memory of Mark Lepine.

  24. 24
    Daran says:

    Here’s the text of the email. It’s a tad incoherent, but I guess sociopaths can be that way. If you want additional confirmation, I suppose I could provide Millar’s email address. Might be interesting to see if he owns up to this racist, violent garbage. I just hope this guy isn’t clever enought to track me down. I think he’s truly dangerous.

    Don’t post the email address. It’s trivial to send email in anyone’s name, so it’s more than likely not really from that person.

    I don’t know whether you are female, but if so, then you might reasonably take the “Mark Lepine” reference as a threat, and want to involve the law.

  25. 25
    Daran says:

    In any case, being south of the border, I’m not really familiar with how crazy, exactly, Canadian politics is. I’all take the word of any Canadians around if they say that this isn’t likely to be taken seriously by anyone.

    Even US politics isn’t so crazy as to have people campaigning on a platform supporting the random killing of women.

    I think you have more to worry from some nutter using that day to commit a similar atrocity, than from it ever being officially celebrated.

  26. 26
    Myca says:

    Honest to god, I thought she was saying this about Martin Luther King Day. I was so confused.

    Laugh! You owe me one slightly-less-soaked-with-iced-chai keyboard.

    —Myca

  27. 27
    David Miller says:

    Silverside,

    Thank you for providing the info. It is obvious that this is only the rantings of some idiots without common sense or decency. Similar to the women who shouted out “Lorena Bobbit for Surgeon General” to a men’s rally at Harvard University. Certainly comments like that are not welcome within the feminist movement are they? Hardly a legal or political movement. Does it show the extent of human ignorance and callousness? Absolutely.

    Just to clarify things, Marc Lepine murdered 14 women at L’Ecole Polytecnique on Dec 6, 1989. In memorial of this awful event, Dec 6th is the National Day of Remembrance and Action on Violence Against Women. There are memorial services held at both the school where the murders happened as well as at universities across the country, as well as remembrance shown by the Governments of Canada.

    The arguments here in Canada are that this event is used as an example of how all men are just one step away from becoming a Marc Lepine, and thus this incident is used every year on Dec 6th to try and pass further violence legislation. One of the most vocal arguments against this is that Marc Lepine was a mentally ill, deranged mass murderer and hardly representative of men’s propensity for violence against women – so why is it always being used an example. Every year on Dec 6th, the insults fly between the two groups and this is probably how you came to be aware of it, and why people make bad jokes about it.

    The Dec 6th memorials used to be quite a hotbed of controversy because for the first few years, it was female only – it was made quite well known that men were not welcome and were not allowed to attend – and this did send out quite a message to men in general. (Men do attend now, by the way.)

    Thank you for clarifying that this whole idea of a Marc Lepine Day is just the rantings of some dipshit who shouldn’t be given the time of day, nor used to portray my country as a 3rd world mysoginist joke.

  28. 28
    Daran says:

    despite the unfortunate title…

    It’s rich to complain about that. The reason it has that title is feminists trumpetting of the VAW meme.

  29. 29
    Andrew says:

    Most of the opposition to even a gender-neutral VAWA is not out of misogyny, but because it is an unconstitutional expansion of the powers of the federal government targeted at purely local crimes that state and local governments should be dealing with, not the federal government.

  30. 30
    Medium Dave says:

    Gosh, this terrible practice of naming legislation after the problem it’s intended to address has got to stop…

  31. 31
    Daran says:

    In so far as it has been written in gender-neutral language, it would appear to be an intended to address certain types of violence against both sexes.

    If you are of the view that violence against men should be ignored, (or ignored in this legislation) then please say so, for the record.

  32. 32
    Medium Dave says:

    I advocate setting fire to straw men whenever possible…

  33. 33
    Daran says:

    I assume nothing you have not already stated. I merely ask a reasonable question given what you have stated. I note that you have not answered it.

  34. 34
    Ampersand says:

    despite the unfortunate title…

    It’s rich to complain about that. The reason it has that title is feminists trumpetting of the VAW meme.

    So you’re saying that because I’m a feminist, I’m not allowed to criticize anything done by feminists? Or that I am allowed to criticize, but when I do my criticism should be dismissed as “rich,” whatever that means?

    By the way, I think feminists are quite right to “trumpet” the “meme” (prejudicial language, much?) that violence against women is a serious social problem. I just think the legislation should have been in purely gender-neutral language.

  35. 35
    Daran says:

    Ampersand:

    So you’re saying that because I’m a feminist, I’m not allowed to criticize anything done by feminists? Or that I am allowed to criticize, but when I do my criticism should be dismissed as “rich,” whatever that means?

    Is there any chance we could dispense with the “so you’re saying [FOO]?” formula, when [FOO] is manifestly not what I am saying?

    You are, of course, perfectly entitled to criticise feminism, and I would applaud your so doing, however in this case it appears that far from criticising something “done by feminists”, you are criticising something “done by” Congress. As the following paragraph indicates, you do not criticise the thing “done by feminists” which resulted in the thing “done by” Congress. On the contrary, you applaud it.

    “Rich”=”amusing” as I’m sure you already know.

    By the way, I think feminists are quite right to “trumpet” the “meme” (prejudicial language, much?)…

    They’re loaded words, certainly, but hardly prejudicial, because the judgement in question – that it has resulted in a piece of legislation which is not as gender-neutral as we both would want – preceeded their use.

    They’re also the only words I can think of which conveyed what I meant, which is that it is an idea which has spread virally through the feminist movement and from the feminist movement into the mainstream as a result of the former’s loudly proclaiming it. “Virally” is another loaded word, but again I can’t think of an alternative.

    …that violence against women is a serious social problem. I just think the legislation should have been in purely gender-neutral language.

    I don’t agree that “violence against women” is a meaningful category. In so far as every act of violence (and a few things which are not violence) in which the victim is female falls under the rubric, it is an arbitrary one. It create the impression that, for example, domestic violence against women in the USA is like for example, prison prison violence against women in America and FGM as in Africa, and not like domestic violence against men in the USA. In reality, domestic violence against women is similar to domestic violence against men in the US and different from prison violence and genital mutilation.

    Domestic violence is a meaningful category, as is prison violence. but the “violence against women” meme (idea, concept, whatever) has been used by feminists and others to dismiss, and to promote the dismissal from consideration of these forms of violence when they are perpetrated against men, and to prioritise the forms of violence which predominantly affect women (such as DV) over those which predominantly affect men (such as prison violence).

    As an example of dismissal, I’ve already pointed out that the consern shown by Amnesty International towards female prisoners is not matched by a similar concern for males. And there’s no good reason for this. It doesn’t even benefit women, since for Amnesty to adopt a gender-neutral approach would in no way dilute the concern toward female prisoners. This is not a zero sum game.

    Similarly all of the benefits to women of the VAWA would have been achieved if feminists had campained for a gender-neutral Domestic Violence Act. That VAWA has always been largely gender-neutral (and is more so now) is despite the efforts of feminists, not because of them. The residual gender bias that remains in the title may still have an effect, though: people and organisations working against DV against men may be reluctant to use the act, or may not be aware that they can. If so, then this is likely to impact upon the statistics and be used by feminists to claim that DV against men is less of a problem than it really is.

    A genuine equality movement would have campaigned for a gender-neutral act, but feminism isn’t a genuine equality movement. It is a women-first movement.

    As examples of prioritisation, note that Human Rights Watch did two surveys of prison rape against women before they did a gender-neutral one. Also Congress passed VAWA (mostly gender-neutral, but predominantly benefitting women) five years before they addressed prison rape with PREA (completely gender-neutral, but predomonantly benefitting men).

    I don’t want to play the “which is worse” game. They’re both serious social problems, and both should have been addressed far earlier than they were. Nevertheless, there is no justification for prioritising violence against women over violence against men, and the mere fact that this happens refutes the ‘Patriarchy’ theory of feminism. There can be no more patriarchal body than Congress, yet it consistently puts women’s interests ahead of men’s.

  36. 36
    the15th says:

    And there’s no other reason that Congress might be less likely to sympathize with victims of prison rape other than that they’re male. Certainly not because they’re criminals?

    Prison rape is a human rights violation that should be ended, but saying that Congress puts women’s interests first because they passed a bill to stop violence against all women before passing a bill to stop violence against male prisoners is, well, rich.

  37. 37
    Ampersand says:

    Is there any chance we could dispense with the “so you’re saying [FOO]?” formula, when [FOO] is manifestly not what I am saying?

    Actually, it was utterly bewildering to me what you were saying; things were not as manifest as you assume.

    You are, of course, perfectly entitled to criticise feminism, and I would applaud your so doing, however in this case it appears that far from criticising something “done by feminists”, you are criticising something “done by” Congress.

    Your belief that I was meaning to criticize Congress-but-not-feminists is a mistake. When I said the title of VAWA is unfortunate, I was consciously saying that the feminists who (I assume) thought of the title made an error. Criticizing the title of VAWA is so self-evidently criticizing something feminists did, that the alternate meaning you read into it didn’t even occur to me.

    I don’t agree that “violence against women” is a meaningful category.

    I think you have to remember the recent historical context – in which the vast, vast majority of crime-fighting resources went to fighting stranger-crimes, in which the typical victim is male, and there was a long tradition of giving most intimate violence, acquaintence rape, stalking, etc, in which the typical victim is female, a pass. Twenty years ago, spousal rape wasn’t even a crime in much (or most?) of the USA, and date rape was just good “boys will be handsy” fun.

    In that context, I think it’s a legitimate feminist point that the kinds of violent crime that seemed to be getting brushed under the carpet, were types of crime that seemed to happen mostly to women. The point isn’t that such things never happen to men; it’s that they mostly happen to women, and they were being ignored.

    However, what seems to me to be an acceptable thing to use to make a point in rhetoric, isn’t good law. So I don’t think it’s wrong to worry about “violence against women,” but I think the law should remain gender-neutral in its language.

  38. 38
    Ampersand says:

    Realistically, I think Congress passed VAWA before addressing prison rape because there’s a larger feminist lobby than there is a prisoners’ rights lobby. It’s not like VAWA just happened out of the blue; VAWA represents many years of hard work by feminist activists and theorists at many levels.

    It’s terrible that prisoners are so screwed over in this country, but I don’t think the comparison really tells us anything beyond “group a has a bigger lobby than group b.”

    Although I think it’s also the case that there’s a horrible prejudice against prisoners’ rights in the USA – one that goes far beyond reason.

  39. 39
    Robert says:

    Although I think it’s also the case that there’s a horrible prejudice against prisoners’ rights in the USA – one that goes far beyond reason.

    One contributing factor to the attitude is a perception that “hard time” is both (a) more efficient in terms of delivering punishment and (b) more likely to knock sense into someone in the hopes they’ll stop making bad choices. How big are those effects, if they exist? I dunno.

    Whatever you think of that point of view, people who hold it read news stories discussing at least some hard conditions and think “eh”. That tends to dilute any public outrage.

  40. 40
    Ampersand says:

    As an example of dismissal, I’ve already pointed out that the consern shown by Amnesty International towards female prisoners is not matched by a similar concern for males. And there’s no good reason for this. It doesn’t even benefit women, since for Amnesty to adopt a gender-neutral approach would in no way dilute the concern toward female prisoners. This is not a zero sum game.

    First of all, clearly Amnesty doesn’t have an infinite budget for studies of prison conditions. So although on the whole it’s not a zero-sum game, when Amnesty is deciding what to do with its annual research budget, that is a zero-sum problem.

    Second of all, Amnesty didn’t do their studies in a void. Amnesty was – as I understand it – working in a context in which most of the social science literature on prison rape (as meager as it was, and is) concentrated on male prisoners. So that would have, in my view, been a reasonable reason to focus on female prisoners.

    Similarly all of the benefits to women of the VAWA would have been achieved if feminists had campained for a gender-neutral Domestic Violence Act. That VAWA has always been largely gender-neutral (and is more so now) is despite the efforts of feminists, not because of them.

    Do you have any evidence to support this at all? My impression is that the legislation – gender neutral language and all – was mostly developed by feminists. Certainly, the large movement for gender-neutral laws – including, for instance, the reforms of how rape is defined over the last couple of decades – was largely driven by feminists.

  41. 41
    Ampersand says:

    They’re both serious social problems, and both should have been addressed far earlier than they were. Nevertheless, there is no justification for prioritising violence against women over violence against men, and the mere fact that this happens refutes the ‘Patriarchy’ theory of feminism. There can be no more patriarchal body than Congress, yet it consistently puts women’s interests ahead of men’s.

    You misunderstand feminist theory. The theory does not claim that feminist activism is unable to change what patriarchal institutions, such as Congress, do. It is primariy because of feminist activism that VAWA happened.

    And I agree with the15′s critique, as well: There are obvious other explanations for passing VAWA before anti-prison-rape legislation than anti-male bias in Congress. Your comparison, “mostly-male prisoners” and “mostly-female non-criminals,” is apples and oranges.

  42. 42
    Ampersand says:

    One contributing factor to the attitude is a perception that “hard time” is both (a) more efficient in terms of delivering punishment and (b) more likely to knock sense into someone in the hopes they’ll stop making bad choices. How big are those effects, if they exist? I dunno.

    I don’t either, but even if the effects were huge, they couldn’t justify brushing priosn rape under the rug, of course. Being raped is obviously cruel (although, sadly, not that unusual) punishment.

    (I’m not saying you’d diagree with me there, Robert.)

    In general, “make it hard on ‘em” can lead to bad effects – not just rape, but also more riots, more prisoner death, etc.. For instance, politicians frequently insist that prisons shouldn’t have carpeting, because that would be too cushy. But iirc my criminology class from years ago correctly, carpeting does a lot to reduce echos and noise, which in turn makes riots and violence less likely.

  43. 43
    Matan says:

    Daran, what you’re glossing over is that men frequently commit violence against women because the victims are women. The perpetrators are not randomly swinging their fist in a crowd and seeing whom it happens to hit. Yes, domestic violence is committed by women against women, by men against men, by women against men, and by transpeople against people of other genders. But, violence by men against women frequently intrinsically has to do with the ideas promulgated in our society about women’s worth.

    No, I don’t have evidence to back this up. Others probably do.

  44. 44
    Kim (basement variety!) says:

    Nevertheless, there is no justification for prioritising violence against women over violence against men, and the mere fact that this happens refutes the ‘Patriarchy’ theory of feminism.

    That’s like looking at a situation where two cash registers are consistently coming up with money missing, but one is missing far more money consistently and trackably, and saying that it makes no sense to make that one the priority. Of course both are a problem, and both should be addressed, like you said earlier, it isn’t zero-sum. The problem of violence against women can absolutely be addressed aggressively and with focus without dismissing violence that occurs to men. Are you being deliberately obtuse about this, or do you feel that the sort of violence VAWA addresses is more common or as common against men?

  45. 45
    alsis39 says:

    Of course, women are raped in prison, too. So men who don’t want “DV” to have a default setting of “male-on-female” violence should bear in mind that it’s innacurate to consider “male-on-male” forced sex the default setting for the term “prison rape.” Particularly as there are more incarcerated women now than in earlier eras.

  46. 46
    David Miller says:

    Kim,

    By the rationale you have presented, does it not also make sense to concentrate on eradicating violence against women in the lower 48 States first, and THEN tackle the problem of violence against women in Alaska?

    What I don’t understand about the argument is: If women committing violence against men is such an insignifacant problem because only 2% of women are guilty of it, then why would any woman object to any laws or legal language about it. It would only affect 2% of women so 98% of women would never be affected by this at all.

    If I’m never guilty of speeding, then I couldn’t care less if speeding tickets are $50 or $500 for it is of no significance to me. If I was always speeding, then I would care.

    My government could charge a 100% surcharge tax on trips to the moon and regulate the heck out of these trips and I wouldn’t object.

  47. 47
    David Miller says:

    In regard to the cash register example, if the management stated that cash register “A” was allowed an acceptable loss of $20/day while cash register “B” was allowed an acceptable loss of $100/day… and both cash registers come up $120/day short, then register “A” will always look like the thief who’s stealing $100 bucks and register “B” will always look like he’s only stealing $20 – at the end of the day though, when all variables are made equal between the two, the fact still remains that $120 is missing from each – thus the need for standardizing between the two, otherwise all tracking and “statistical evidence” is entirely useless.

    The problem as I see it is not necessarily that one gender is more guilty than the other, rather that we are not holding each gender to the same bar of expected behaviour and therefore all the statistical evidence becomes entirely useless. Once this bar is created equally, then we can begin to measure who does more to who.

    When we as society are watching TV/Movies and we see a man arguing with a woman and then he takes a swing at her – we as the audience automtically hate the man and think the woman should get out of there and go to the police to report him, for he is an abuser and has committed domestic violence.

    The next evening we are watching TV/Movies and we see a man arguing with a woman and she picks up a vase and throws it him. We kind of smile at her high-spiritedness, the man makes a joking comment and disappears, then we go on to watch the movie without thinking badly of her and certainly not viewing her as an abuser (ever thought what would happen to that guys face if the vase had hit him?). We certainly don’t expect that the man has been assaulted and that he should leave her or go to the police and charge her.

    That society does not openly question this disparity between our views of abuse goes to show that indeed violence against men is a serious problem in society – because its not even thought of as violence. All statistics of who abuses who more are irrelevant until all forms of abuse are viewed to the same standard, then we can do some real research to see who abuses who more.

    If men driving 20mph over the limit are charged with reckless driving while women driving 20mph over the limit are charged with excessive use of gas, then it will be easy for society to attack men for being reckless drivers. When both genders driving 20mph over the limit are charged with speeding, then we can do some real research on which gender speeds more. (As if it matters – they both should stop speeding!)

    I don’t understand why anyone would object to standardizing the bar between the genders.

  48. 48
    Daran says:

    Of course, women are raped in prison, too. So men who don’t want “DV” to have a default setting of “male-on-female” violence should bear in mind that it’s inacurate to consider “male-on-male” forced sex the default setting for the term “prison rape.” Particularly as there are more incarcerated women now than in earlier eras.

    I’m not aware of any change in the relative prison populations sufficient to change the fact that most prison rape victims are men.

    Nor is anyone that I can see asking for male-on-male to be considered the default. I am asking for an inclusive approach which embraces every victim.

  49. Pingback: Long story; short pier. » Blog Archive » Yanking cranks.

  50. 49
    Counsel says:

    You just have to love Congress and their inability to state the truth.

    Violence Against Women Act.

    Sounds better than Anti-Violence Bill.

    Remember, requirews the following:

    In this part, and in any other Act of Congress, unless the context unequivocally requires otherwise, a provision authorizing or requiring the Department of Justice to make grants, or to carry out other activities, for assistance to victims of domestic violence, dating violence, stalking, sexual assault, or trafficking in persons, shall be construed to cover grants that provide assistance to female victims, male victims, or both.

    My questions is as follows:

    Even though the law may be implemented correctly (meaning men and women will be protected and treated equally), the law appears to be ‘aimed’ at women. Why? Shouldn’t the illegal acts be the issue rather than the gender of the victim?

    Just curious.

  51. Pingback: Pocosin.com » Blog Archive » Violence Against Women Act

  52. 50
    Q Grrl says:

    Shouldn’t the illegal acts be the issue rather than the gender of the victim?

    No. Not when gender is a mitigating factor in the illegal acts themselves. We can stop aiming laws at women when men stop aiming violence at women because they are women.

  53. 51
    Caz McChrystal says:

    I applaud the provisions of the Violence Against Women Act that actually go towards preventing violence against women; however, I cannot in good conscience support the bill as a whole, and I believe it constitutionally irresponsible to support the bill as a whole. Like many end of the year bills that go through Congress the Violence Against Women Act is vandalized by riders that would never be passed on their own.
    Under section 113 of the bill, entitled “Preventing Cybersquatting,” 47 U.S.C. 223(h)(1) is amended to greatly restrict our first amendment rights involving any anonymous speech over the Internet. In fact, any anonymous Internet posting that a court could construe as “annoy[ing]” may be punishable by up to two years in federal prison.
    Again, while I strongly support legislation that promotes civil rights, I do not feel that the erosion of the Bill of Rights should be the price tag. By celebrating the quality provisions of the Violence Against Women Act, while disregarding its more deplorable aspects, you do a disservice to the same constitution that provides for the protections granted by the Act.

  54. 52
    Ampersand says:

    Even though the law may be implemented correctly (meaning men and women will be protected and treated equally), the law appears to be ‘aimed’ at women. Why? Shouldn’t the illegal acts be the issue rather than the gender of the victim?

    As I wrote in an earlier post (I’m recycling freely from that post in this post, incidentally), it’s tempting to respond to VAWA by asking “so where’s the Violence Against Men Act?” Taken out of context, VAWA does seem pretty unfair. Why should the government focus on what happens to women?

    But VAWA wasn’t written outside of context. In reality, crime is not sex-neutral. The majority of criminal violence against men is “stranger violence”; men are assaulted in bars, attacked by muggers, raped in prison. For women, in contrast, the majority of violence is “intimate violence”; women are beat up by husbands, raped by acquaintances.

    Here’s where context comes into play. Our courts and our cops have been designed mainly to prevent stranger violence – which is to say, the kind of violence that happens mostly to men. You want to know where the Violence Against Men Act is? Virtually our entire criminal-justice system – at least, the bits dealing with violent crime – has been a Violence Against Men Act, for most of its history. Violence that happens primarily to women – intimate violence, date rape, and so on – has been ignored until recently.

    VAWA isn’t adding bias to a sex-neutral system; it’s an attempt to correct a system which has for centuries been overwhelmingly biased towards the needs of men.

  55. 53
    Tom says:

    you said: “it’s an attempt to correct a system which has for centuries been overwhelmingly biased towards the needs of men.” WRONG. The only needs that were supported were that of RICH men and women, not the great majority of poor men. Violence against Men has always been more acceptable, through workplace deaths, barroom brawls and war, etc. That’s why men are the minority! There were husband-beaters in the 1800′s. Check out president Lincoln. His wife beat him good. And stranger violence happened to women as well as men. WAVA does add bias! And you should check your history facts better.

  56. 54
    Myca says:

    you said: “it’s an attempt to correct a system which has for centuries been overwhelmingly biased towards the needs of men.” WRONG. The only needs that were supported were that of RICH men and women, not the great majority of poor men.

    There’s no conflict. It’s entirely possible for both wealth and gender to be paths to privilege, but if you don’t see that our world has been (and is) massively sexist, I think you’re being willfully blind.

    Violence against Men has always been more acceptable, through workplace deaths, barroom brawls and war, etc. That’s why men are the minority!

    I think it’s true that it’s generally been more acceptable for men to engage in deadly violence against men, but that’s not what’s in question here.

    Once again, there’s no conflict.

    There were husband-beaters in the 1800’s. Check out president Lincoln. His wife beat him good.

    The existence of a few cases in the contrary doesn’t change that, according to our best information, men physically abuse women in far greater numbers than women physically abuse men.

    Especially in the 1800′s.

    And stranger violence happened to women as well as men.

    Yep. So?

    Like I said, the existence of a few cases in the contrary doesn’t change the basic thesis, and nobody has claimed that stranger violence never affects women.

    WAVA does add bias!

    Sure, but it seems appropriate to me nonetheless. Specifically, check out Post #53 for more info.

    And you should check your history facts better.

    Nuh-uh! You should!

    Seriously, Tom. It’s not that I even disagree with (some of) the facts you bring up, it’s just that in context they seem sort of like non sequitirs.

    —Myca

  57. 55
    Tom says:

    You said: “There’s no conflict. It’s entirely possible for both wealth and gender to be paths to privilege, but if you don’t see that our world has been (and is) massively sexist, I think you’re being willfully blind.”
    The world is massively sexist. Mostly against men. Yeah, I know what everybody’s thinking: It still is men who sent men into war, into workplace deaths, to be kidnapped or incarcerated, Fine. Point taken. However, if the shoe were on the other foot, and it were women who were the ones who die in war battles,dying in workplace accidents, and dying younger, or being more represented in prison, the world would accuse men of not being chivalrous, and not doing enough to “protect” women from disaster. Society doesn’t tell women to protect men, to also be chivalrous. Men are more often the protectors of women, not the oppressors. Yes, this IS sexist, but at detriment to the average man. Men invented telephones, cars, planes, houses, governments, things that women refuse to give up, yet they can call men in general, oppressive. My advice to many of them is: get an 100% all-women country. I’m not stopping you. Live without your “oppressors”. Build your own items and houses from scratch. retrieve your own garbage, and maintain your own roads. Let me know how it works, O.K. You said: “I think it’s true that it’s generally been more acceptable for men to engage in deadly violence against men, but that’s not what’s in question here. Once again, there’s no conflict.”
    To me, it is a huge conflict when the major mainstream news media, hollywood, public schools, scream the word “violence against women”, but not “violence against men” or even better, “violence against people”, “living things”, whatever. The schools and the media have this big megaphone in which to proclaim something backward, or progressive. In their words, male-dominated is out. A female dominated craft is in, it’s empowering, liberated! I don’t the institution of government is run well by either gender. I think people should go into farming instead. But I like to challenge politically-correct double-speak wherever it is.

  58. 56
    pheeno says:

    the world would accuse men of not being chivalrous, and not doing enough to “protect” women from disaster

    Thats because the world has sexist beliefs about women. Evidently, our poor little female brains cant figure out ways to protect ourselves and we’re all delicate little flowers who must be protected.

    Chivalry is sexist and rooted in the idea women are really children and should be treated as such.

    Men are more often the protectors of women, not the oppressors.

    Pray tell, who are these men protecting us from? Aliens?

  59. 57
    Mike says:

    You are totally correct. Chivalry is degrading to both genders, women as well as men. End chivalry today!

  60. 58
    debbie says:

    Oooh pheeno, I know the answer! They’re protecting us from other men!
    Uh oh! look like Tom’s fantasy world has collapsed around his ears.

  61. 59
    Counsel says:

    I noted that: Shouldn’t the illegal acts be the issue rather than the gender of the victim?

    A commenter replied: No. Not when gender is a mitigating factor in the illegal acts themselves. We can stop aiming laws at women when men stop aiming violence at women because they are women.

    I don’t know whether the commenter is thinking this thorough… How is the gender of the person getting beaten a mitigating factor to the illegal act of committing the violence?

    If a law stated all violence was illegal, why would the gender be relevant? I am suggesting equal treatment under the law–not unequal.

    By your logic (We can stop aiming laws at women when men stop aiming violence at women because they are women), we would need seperate anti-violence laws for women, men, hermaphrodites (or do you lump them in with women or men?), different ethnic groups, etc.) rather than have one law against violence.

    If we had to pass separate laws, whomever was not included in one of those laws would not be included (i.e., treated fairly). How do you justify such exclusion?

    I argue that it is the act (violence, murder, etc.) and not the gender, ethnic group, etc. that should be relevant. Sure, you can agree, but your logic excludes equal treatment for some, and I can’t understand your reasoning for that exclusion…

    BTW: I don’t include “race” in the description because I think there is one race, the human race.

  62. 60
    Myca says:

    Holy thread-necromancy, Counsel!

    Here’s the thing, man. Two points:

    1) This whole debate kind of creeps me out in the way that the debate over whether or not white people ‘should’ say the n-word creeps me out. Why would it bother someone so much, not being ‘supposed’ to use a horrible racial slur? Why would it bother someone so much, the idea of women recieving xtra protection from violence? I mean, it neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg, you know? Since it does neither, I end up feeling like the people who are so upset about this (as-in-your-original-post-was-2.5-years-ago-upset) are just really bothered by the idea of a law protecting women. And that’s creepy.

    2) If the ‘inequality’ still bothers you, think of it this way: two towns border each other and have a roughly equal population. One town has very little crime, its streets are safe at night, etc. The other town is suffering through a horrible crime wave, its citizens are scared to go out, chaos reigns supreme, etc.

    It only makes sense that the second town should put more police on the streets. There just simply isn’t going to be a way to staff their respective police forces that is both perfectly ‘equal’ and actually effective. If you just give them both the exact same number of officers, funding, and training, one police force will end up overstaffed, and one will end up understaffed.

    This is the same situation. Women face more violence. We’re addressing the issue more strongly because it requires it. It may be, as you said, that it’s ‘unfair’ to staff the two towns’ police forces differently (“After all, they have the same population! Why should one town have twice as many cops?”), but it’s also the only reasonable, rational, thing to do. The actual world is about more than just theory.

    —Myca

  63. 61
    Counsel says:

    Myca:

    I don’t mind extra police, and I would assume that the police would protect everyone equally — rather than just intervene if a woman was attack and not intervene if a man was attacked.

    Whether it is reasonable or rational is up for debate. I am not saying anyone should be subject to violence.

    My point was why do you offer more legal protection to one group of people–regardless if it is women, men, hermaphrodites, African-American, etc…

    Whether women face more violence is irrelevant as to whom should be protected FROM violence.

    Only including women in the law does not mean the law will be enforced. So, you may be talking about enforcement of the law. I do not mind appropriate enforcement of the law, my comment is directed to protecting everyone rather than a group we all want to protect–just not to the detriment to other groups who also need the protection. For example, groups that are targeted for violence include gay men. Excluding “men” means gay men don’t get the same protection against violence as women would receive…

    The question I have to you is, “why not?” I am not saying women are subject to less violence or that they are subject to more violence than men. My comment is simply stating that if we all focus on “our” problems, we exclude solving THE problem–violence.

    Perhaps this will help… You suggest we protect women because they are subject to “more” violence? Does your rationale suggest that we should protect women “less” if they are subject to “less” violence? I don’t think so… I think we both want to end violence–not just against women.

    Or are you suggesting, somehow, that violence against those who are not women is somehow more acceptable?

  64. 62
    Counsel says:

    I felt sad that you had the following assumption:

    I end up feeling like the people who are so upset about this (as-in-your-original-post-was-2.5-years-ago-upset) are just really bothered by the idea of a law protecting women. And that’s creepy.

    I have to admit that your assumption about me being “bothered” or upset about protecting women is wrong–whether you admit it or not.

    I am not suggesting we do NOT protect women. I am simply suggesting that the law offer the same protection to everyone…

  65. Pingback: Pocosin.com » Blog Archive » Why do we assume?

  66. 63
    Nomen Nescio says:

    Why would it bother someone so much, the idea of women recieving xtra protection from violence? I mean, it neither picks your pocket nor breaks your leg, you know?

    playing lawyer to Lucifer for a moment, it might make some people more equal before the law than others, which can foment resentment of the law and worsen social divisions and strife. whether this particular case of not-quite equality under the law actually does do those things might be debatable, though.

  67. 64
    Ampersand says:

    Folks, please read the original post (or reread it to refresh your memory, if it’s been a few years). VAWA isn’t a perfect law, but most of it is written in scrupulously gender-neutral language. To describe it as if it protects women while doing nothing at all for any male crime victims is inaccurate.

  68. 65
    Myca says:

    I don’t mind extra police, and I would assume that the police would protect everyone equally — rather than just intervene if a woman was attack and not intervene if a man was attacked.

    I think that you don’t understand analogies.

    I am not suggesting we do NOT protect women. I am simply suggesting that the law offer the same protection to everyone…

    The law, in its infinite wisdom, prohibits the rich, as well as the poor, from sleeping beneath bridges. Right.

    VAWA isn’t a perfect law, but most of it is written in scrupulously gender-neutral language.

    Great point, Ampersand. Counsel, what specific complaints do you have about the act? Which provisions (once again, specifically) do you believe are unfair and unwarranted?

    —Myca

  69. 66
    Counsel says:

    Ampersand:

    I agree.

    Law available here: http://frwebgate.access.gpo.gov/cgi-bin/getdoc.cgi?dbname=109_cong_bills&docid=f:h3402enr.txt.pdf

    My original post only discussed TITLE I (ENHANCING JUDICIAL AND LAW ENFORCEMENT TOOLS TO COMBAT VIOLENCE AGAINST WOMEN), TITLE VI ( HOUSING OPPORTUNITIES AND SAFETY FOR BATTERED WOMEN AND CHILDREN). and TITLE IX (SAFETY FOR INDIAN WOMEN).

    I agree with your statement in general and only wish the legislature had done as well on those sections :)

    The law is a good law, don’t get me wrong…

    Myca:

    I am an English major, but the courts interpret language specifically and do not always appreciate metaphors… I am sorry that I do not think your example worked. That it was a metaphor (the substitution of one idea or object with another, used to assist expression or understanding) or not is not relevant if it does not help with increasing the understanding… Sorry.

    Your complaining about rich and poor not being treated equally is a problem with enforcement of the law not with how the law is written. Nobody has disagreed that enforcement is not always conducted equally. We all agree enforcement needs work, but I think the law should provide for equal treatment. If we start writing unequal treatment into the law, how are we improving the situation (i.e., ,making the situation better)?

    If we have a problem with enforcement (which we do), let us work to improve enforcement.

    I am not sure why you seem to think I think the law is bad. To simplify my comment, I stated that the law should apply to ALL rather than to the FEW or the ONE. If you agree with basic idea, we agree. If you don’t agree, I haven’t seen where you state why some people and/or groups deserve better treatment than everyone else. We really don’t need to argue over minutia…

    Perhaps you want to make a group whole–that is the justification for making it easier for women and other “minorities” to get government business loans–a benefit I do not oppose.

    Please understand all I am saying is that I (me) would prefer the law to prevent violence against all and to provide the same benefits to all–something it comes very close to doing.

  70. 67
    Myca says:

    Your complaining about rich and poor not being treated equally is a problem with enforcement of the law not with how the law is written.

    Is English your first language? I ask because we seem to be talking past each other here, especially if you think, “The law, in its infinite wisdom, prohibits the rich, as well as the poor, from sleeping beneath bridges,” has anything at all to do with enforcement.

    I was making the point that writing a law so as to be scrupulously neutral can lead to some pretty serious discrimination when situations are unequal.

    —Myca

  71. 68
    Counsel says:

    Myca:

    It does when the application of the law by DAs, LE (law enforcment), and lawyers use the law to make the law apply differently to different people. Writing it so that it offers different protection to different people guarantees people will not be treated equally.

    I wonder why you need to be critical? Yes, English is my first language. Does writing a law so as to be scrupulously neutral lead to some pretty serious discrimination when situation are unequal?

    Sure.

    Is that discrimination due to the law being written the way it is or is that outcome due to the enforcement given by District Attorney and/or the police (or other law enforcement units)?

    If the law is written so that it applies to all, any discriminatory application may be due to improper enforcement or application.

    Understand, making that law apply to all does not reduce any protection to women. Rather, making the law apply to all makes more people/groups receive the protection offered under the law. Again, whether the law is applied as it should be is an enforcement issue–this is why the EPA is sued for failure to meet goals/guidelines.

    Follow this argument that a lawyer could make:

    Most of the VOWA is written in a gender neutral tone. However, these sections (and the attorney will list the sections that are not gender-neutral) are not so written. Why would some sections be written gender-neutral and some not? Obviously, the legislature meant for some areas of the law to only apply to women and not to (whomever his client has abused).

    A court may agree with that argument.

    Again, my suggestion would not give women any less protection. Do you think women deserve more protection than other groups/people? I can accept that. However, my wanting to protect everyone from violence does not make me “wrong” in any sense of the word. :) I really don’t think we disagree unless you are saying that women deserve more protection from violence than other people (e.g., gay men, African Americans, Latin Americans, etc.). If we do not agree (if you think women should have more protection than others), I can accept that reasonable people can disagree.

  72. 69
    Myca says:

    I wonder why you need to be critical? Yes, English is my first language.

    Serious question, actually. We seem to be talking past each other, and that sometimes happens with folks who aren’t very skilled with English. It’s not an attack, just a question.

    Is that discrimination due to the law being written the way it is or is that outcome due to the enforcement given by District Attorney and/or the police (or other law enforcement units)?

    Part of the reason I used the example I did is that a law against vagrancy (sleeping under bridges) will lead to a greater oppression of the poor in cases where it is enforced equally.

    See, the rich don’t need to sleep under bridges, so if the law says, “arrest everyone sleeping under a bridge, regardless of their income,” 100% of the people arrested will be the very poor.

    The problem here is clearly not unequal enforcement. It’s equal enforcement of a law that pretends that everyone’s situation is the same, when it’s clearly not.

    Similarly here, the situation of women and men in the US in regards to violence is clearly not equal, and I think that it makes sense for our laws to recognize that.

    —Myca

  73. 70
    Myca says:

    Another example would be a law against marrying someone of the same sex.

    That means nothing to me but means a very great deal to my gay friends.

    Pretending that that law is neutral is extremely foolish, though it applies regardless of sexual orientation.

    —Myca

  74. 71
    Counsel says:

    Myca:

    I understand your example. I hope you understand that I do not think it applies here… Anyone arrested for violence would be guilty–I don’t care whether they are rich or not. I am protecting those who are subject to violence–not protecting those who commit violence (regardless of their class, ethnic group, social status, etc.).

    Do you see it targeting a group you think will lead to unfair treatment? In other words, how would protecting everyone equally (rather than protecting women more) lead to unequal treatment under this law?

    Your last example does NOT treat everyone fairly does it? If the law was written to allow everyone to get married, I would have no problem with the law-even if it allowed three people to be in a marriage (understand that some cultures differ from ours).

    Why give an example of a law that treats people differently as your example? That is what I am arguing against… Marriage, in most laws, apply marriage only to a union between a man and a women does not apply to everyone equally does it?

    I am not arguing that all laws are written equally, I was only saying that this law should have been gender-neutral everywhere rather than in most places…

    Laws passed against theft apply only to those who commit theft. Do we get rid of all these laws just because they apply to less financially well off individuals, no. Should some laws be repealed (like the one you give about sleeping under bridges)? Certainly–or at least amended :)

  75. 72
    Daran says:

    Women face more violence.

    That is not true.

  76. 73
    Daran says:

    Similarly here, the situation of women and men in the US in regards to violence is clearly not equal, and I think that it makes sense for our laws to recognize that.

    I agree. Male victims of domestic violence are generally discriminated against and erased by the dominant discourse which frames domestic violence as “violence against women”.

    Note that there is no comparable discrimination against women. Street violence, which is mostly perpetrated against men, is not framed as “violence against men”, nor are female victims discriminated against in the provision of services.

  77. 74
    Counsel says:

    The reason I want laws written in a gender-neutral way is that writing laws in a non-neutral fashion guarantees non-equal treatment. Whether there are laws that target, unintentiaonally or not, a specific group of people is a separate issue that may also need to be addressed–that was not the topic of this thread :)

    Statistics can be used to show many things. Look at the victims of violence. Are more male or female? Are the victims of hate crimes mostly minorities? Where are the facts and data that are accurate? Who is providing this data?

    Violence against women is primarily partner violence: 76 percent of the women who were raped and/or physically assaulted since age 18 were assaulted by a current or former husband, cohabiting partner, or date, …

    That from the US DOJ National Institute of Justice Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as linked to on the National Online Resource Center for Violence Against Women.

    Yet I don’t think we should only provide protection for women in a relationship because they are subject to more violence than non-partnered women.

    Likewise, read this article http://www.wnd.com/index.php?pageId=34888

    While nine in 10,000 whites and nine in 10,000 Hispanics are victimized by hate crimes, only seven in 10,000 blacks are targets, according to the report.

    I do not think we should give more protection to “whites” or “Hispanics” in hate crime legislation either…

    I don’t think any study will accurately capture an opinion of violence, and studies often “spin” results based on the cause of the group funding or providing the information…

    Everyone should be protected from violence, and protecting everyone does not decrease the protection offered to any “one” group or person…

  78. 75
    Sailorman says:

    I am having trouble distinguishing between your position on neutral laws which are written to benefit a particular group, and laws which are not facially neutral.

    Laws which prohibit marital rape, for example, can be neutrally written. But because marital rape of women is far more prevalent, they will benefit primarily women. In fact, it was the plight of married female rape victims (not married male rape victims) that prompted the change of the laws to make marital rape a crime.

    Are you opposed to that type of targeted law? I can’t tell if you’re against facial non-neutrality or if you’re against actual non-neutral application of the law.

  79. 76
    Counsel says:

    Perhaps both…

    Again, is there a need for a law that targets a specific group? Take your example of a law which prohibits marital rape. I think both men and women will get protection under this law, but why not write a single law that prevents rape–regardless of marital status? Why is there a need to target a specific group? Again, I would suggest it is the act, the rape, that is the illegal action. I would hope the victim’s “group” would not be what makes any action legal or illegal (or a “worse” offense).

    So, my issue, I guess, is with “targeting.” The law would be targeting specific groups, here married people, in a law that will not protect people who are not married (homosexual or not) but who are raped. Why can’t we write ONE law to make rape illegal? Why would we need to “target” any specific group with “extra protection” that is not afforded to everyone else? If it is married people that are raped more often, perhaps we need better enforcement, education, etc. Targeting a group means other groups are not so targeted (i.e., protected).

    Making a new law (e.g., Marital Rape Act) to apply to a specific group (i.e., married people) when rape is already illegal regardless of whom is the victim seems to be the waste of time. If the problem is a lack of enforcement, the new law may not create new enforcement mechanisms–if it does, why not apply that protection/enforcement to all those who are raped?

    I understand the plight of (insert the group here) is what starts laws to be written. My position is that once you start to provide a legal protection for (insert your group here), you might as well write the law in a fashion to protect everyone–even if they aren’t the major group being victimized at that particular time…

    How can anyone argue that X law is not “fair” if it protects everyone? I’d suggest that, by protecting everyone, you make the activity (e.g., rape) illegal. Target a specific group, you make the illegal activity narrow down to a specific crime against a specific group. If the activity is what we are trying to stop, we should try to prevent the activity to everyone rather than the majority or any minority of the population.

    Take murder as an example. Killing a person with malice aforethought is murder (in most jurisdictions). However, why is killing a police officer with malice aforethought a First Degree Murder (in some jurisdictions) while the same crime with the same reason is a Second Degree Murder in the same jurisdiction if a “regular Joe/Jane” is murdered?

    You are making the victim of the crime determine the punishment and criminal offense. I would argue that protecting everyone to the First Degree Murder may be a better protective rule than treating the crime different depending on who is targeted/killed.

    You might think I would be against a specific law to make crimes against children a crime since, by definition, we are treating them differently than adults? Sure, you could think that way… But I would argue that you shouldn’t protect a male white child any more than you should protect a female Latina child…

    Simply put, I think we should protect as many people as possible when passing any law that was originally written to protect any particular group. In certain situation, we may need to protect those who are unable to protect themselves (children, minors, mentally incompetent, etc.).

    However, I didn’t see the group of people being “protected” here as prohibiting the same protections being extended to everyone else.

    Again, I have nothing against women being protected to the fullest extent of the law. I think everyone deserves the same protection under the law. My comment was simply wondering why we don’t extend the same protection to everyone else…

    Hopefully, I have better explained it here…