Unprotected they stand: The problem with VAWA


Loopholes belong in business, not in matters of safety.

Imagine this: you are a Native American woman married to a White man. You mutually decide to build a life together on tribal land. Not long after, you have tranformed from a blushing bride to a victim of domestic violence.

Have no fear. The law will protect you, right? Call 9-1-1 and cue the loophole. According to a 1999 Department of Justice Report, 70% of Native American women who have experienced domestic violence were victimized by non-Native Americans.

When these acts of violence occurr on tribal land, law enforcement has no jurisdiction. The tribal police are also unable to arrest the non-Native American perpertrators. The last resort is contacting the federal law enforcement, which does have jurisidiction. However, with increased rates of incoming cases, these cases get pushed to the side, leaving the female victims helpless and easy targets for more violence.

Our government is currently debating whether or not to pass the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act of 1994.This act provides state funding for criminal law enforcement and specialized assistance for women of color and immigrants. In summary, this funding helps these women protect themselves from being a punching bag.

We live in the United States of America. As a female whose parents immigrated  from Moldova to avoid religious persecution in a communist government, I have grown up very appreciative of the government I live in. However, the fact that we are still debating about passing the VAWA  is an outrage.

Some politicians are claiming that although the intentions of this act seem noble, this is a loophole designed to expand protection to same-sex couples and illegal immigrants.

Would that be so terrible? At the end of the day, your social views, religious beliefs, income level, citizenship status, age, ethnicity, gender and sexual orientation, and do not matter. I understand that people are frustrated with the concept of paying taxes when illegal immigrants are seemingly exempt, but at what age did we lose our compassion?

All people are people. It saddens me to think that we are not doing everything we can in our power to protect those that are helpless in protecting themselves. I would even boldly claim, as a society, that it seems like we are more concerned with animal rights than civil rights. Please do not misunderstand me, I am in complete support of protecting endangered species and preventing animal cruelty, but people are more important.

This cannot be another “out of sight, out of mind” issue. If our politicians do not put their differences aside to protect the people in this country, then why do we even have a government in the first place?