Ending violence against women is something everyone can agree on and shouldn't be controversial. Astonishingly, some Republicans in Congress held up the re-authorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for more than a year because it has protections for Native Americans, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people and immigrant women without documents. President Obama just signed VAWA into law yesterday. This Senate-version of the bill was voted down by 138 Republicans in the House. Today, unions across the world are celebrating International Women's Day and raising awareness about violence against women and girls.
The renewal of the Violence Against Women Act is now on its way to President Obama, who has said he will sign it into law. On the eve of Women's History Month, working families were able to celebrate that the House finally passed the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act on Thursday. The Senate already passed the act.
Women, men and children across the world are taking collective action this Valentine's Day to speak up and demand an end to violence against women. Union leaders and workers in the United States have joined this massive global coalition. Flash mobs (a dance in a public place coordinated by a group of people) are being held in cities from San Francisco to Delhi, India; Manila, Philippines; Khartoum, Sudan; and many more.
At a Turkish-owned textile plant in the Democratic Republic of Georgia a few years ago, female employers were repeatedly forced to remain on the job without pay for hours a day. When they ultimately demanded to be released, the factory manager responded by yelling and throwing a heavy load of unfinished dresses at one woman. The blow knocked her unconscious. The factory manager returned to Turkey to avoid prosecution—but likely would not have faced charges even if he had stayed, says Bob Fielding, Solidarity Center country program director in Georgia, who described the incident.
The House vote to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is not a bill the majority of Americans can support. It is a badly watered-down version that eliminates protections for millions of women, produced after intense lobbying by a coalition of social conservative groups upon Republican members of Congress.
House Republicans continued their attacks on working women, and last night voted to pass a shameful version of the bill to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act, filled with restrictions that undermine the very intent of a law (originally written by then-Sen. Joe Biden) designed to help victims of domestic violence. The House version, which passed 222 to 205, leaves working immigrant women, same-sex couples and even Native American women vulnerable and makes it harder to keep these women safe.