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Friday, December 2, 2016

Photo credit: CMYKane via Flickr.com

Both sides do it.

This platitude is one of the most destructive myths in politics. But when it comes to the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), which was drafted in 1994 by then-senator Joe Biden and signed into law by President Bill Clinton, the “both sides do it” canard becomes especially disgusting — and not just because the House GOP alone is responsible for letting the law lapse for the first time in over a decade and a half.

Writing in Townhall, longtime anti-feminist activist Phyllis Schlafly says that VAWA is “as sex-discriminatory as legislation can get.” Why? Because it isn’t designed to protect men. Schlafly argues that domestic violence is a problem that affects men and women equally: “A Centers for Disease Control survey found that half of all partner violence was mutual, and 282 scholarly studies reported that women are as physically aggressive, or more aggressive, than men.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control, women are more three times more likely to be killed, stalked or raped by an intimate partner than men. Arguing that women often start domestic violence doesn’t just ignore the obvious inherent physical difference between men and women, it echoes an excuse often used by abusers themselves.

Statistics vary. Some suggest women suffer 85 percent of all domestic abuse and no study has found that women do not suffer a disproportionate amount of domestic violence. About 1 in 4 women will be abused by a partner in her lifetime. But the situation is improving. Women are more confident about reporting domestic violence and law enforcement is much more receptive to calls for help, making everyone in a household safer.

This change is largely due to the extremely positive effects of VAWA, which is no longer the law of the land, thanks to the House GOP. Here are five things you need to know about the Violence Against Women Act.

Photo credit: CMYKane via Flickr.com

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