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A bad piece of legislation is about to be reauthorized, empowering bureaucrats and tort lawyers and poisoning relations between women and men.  The Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) could be fixed, but Senate Democrats will not hear of it.

Vice President Joe Biden says that out of all the legislation that he was associated with while serving in Congress, he is most proud of his role in getting the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) passed in 1994.  Now, seventeen years later, even the ranking Democrat on the Senate Judiciary Committee, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont), admits that the bill is too broad to be effective.  An expert in family violence, Dr. Angela Moore Parmley, concurs: “We have no evidence to date that VAWA has led to a decrease in the overall levels of violence against women.”  To the contrary, some studies indicate an increase in violence against women since VAWA was enacted, including in one study a 60-percent increase in intimate partner homicides.

VAWA has created a vast bureaucracy with an annual price tag of $457,000.  Instead of addressing the root problems of violence and ending battering, the broad definitions of violence in VAWA mean that husbands are thrown in jail based on flimsy allegations of causing “emotional distress” or of “unpleasant speech.”  Meanwhile, drug-addicted boyfriends and alcoholic cohabitors continue to batter, and all men are assumed to be capable of violence.

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