The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

December 31, 2012

Our View: Adding to the abuse

The Joplin Globe

— The fact that Congress will likely close out the year without reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act goes beyond “do-nothing.”

It’s just one more slap in the face to women who have already been abused. It also means that law enforcement officers, county prosecutors and others who receive funding for training in spousal abuse won’t be getting that support.

The measure also provides some funding for women’s shelters.

In Missouri alone, thousands of cases are heard each year involving domestic violence. From 2008 to 2011, the Missouri State Highway Patrol reported 153,549 acts of domestic violence.

Domestic violence and spousal abuse are big problems in this country, in this state and in our readership area.

The Violence Against Women Act has been re-authorized every year since its inception in 1994, and it has been done so without controversy.

The U.S. Senate earlier this year approved re-authorization of the act, but the U.S. House has not brought it to the floor. The holdup? Some Republican House leaders object to a tribal provision that would allow American Indian tribes to prosecute sexual-assault crimes on their land.

We fail to understand why some women should be protected while others are not. Stalling the re-authorization of this act is ludicrous.

At a time when victims of domestic violence need someone to stand strong for them, the leaders of this country have let them down.

We would urge you to write to members of the U.S. House of Representatives demanding some type of action. Kicking this can down the road puts too many lives at risk.