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Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in At TMV, Featured | 31 comments

Marco Rubio Leads 21 Republicans Who Vote Against Violence Against Women Act

via Think Progress

WASHINGTON – A man who has such a thirst for the presidency that he’s in a hurry to get there, which partially explains Senator Rubio’s very awkward Poland Spring moment, shouldn’t be voting against something as important as the VAWA.

There is no excuse for these Republicans, none at all.

From the Los Angeles Times:

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) said at a news conference following the vote that women across the country would be watching Congress closely as it considered the legislation.

“One of the lessons from this election is that women are going to stand up — they’re going to stand up for themselves — and when people start messing around with questioning rape and questioning victims and talking about things in ways that women find offensive, they’re going to respond,” Klobuchar said.

Some House Republicans have already shown support for the measure. On the Senate floor Tuesday, Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.), the bill’s author, submitted into the record a letter 17 House Republicans sent to their leadership Monday urging support for the act..

There’s a reason more women vote Democratic over Republican and this is just one reason, but also why we’re right to do so.

Taylor Marsh, is an author and veteran political analyst who has contributed to Huffington Post, The Hill, U.S. News & World Report, as well as cable outfits from Al Jazeera to CNN and beyond. Author of The Hillary Effect, Marsh’s book is available at Barnes and Noble and on Amazon. Her new-media magazine covers national politics, women, foreign policy, and culture.

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Copyright 2013 The Moderate Voice
  • slamfu

    Lotta the usual suspects up there.

  • Indeed, slamfu.

  • KP

    It’s been a year and a half since the VAWA has expired and it needs to be passed, pronto. Both the Senate and the House failed to act on renewing the bill last year. But both chambers passed their own versions of the bill. The problem came when they couldn’t compromise (surprise!).

    A little more back story; and please correct me if I am mistaken: The crew above is not against the VAWA, per se. They are troubled (rightly or wrongly) by the provision over tribal land jurisdiction in domestic abuse cases.

    “Domestic abuse is particularly prevalent on reservations, and the abuse comes by-and-large from non-tribal partners. American Indian women are more than twice as likely to be raped as white women, and many are left in limbo between tribal authorities who are powerless to act against non-tribal aggressors and local officials who are unable to exert much control on tribal lands. The new Senate bill recognizes tribal authority to prosecute non-American Indians who abuse their partners.”

    In theory, I favor that provision, but can see why some might be troubled by it. I am not familiar enough with Indian Nation law to comment but would like to know more as I am in favor of the bill passing.

    The bill now goes back to Congress where Cantor and Biden will work quickly to get a deal done. Republican Representatives Tom Cole and Darrell Issa are asking Cantor to let the tribal court provisions stay in the bill. Their compromise includes “offering non-Indian defendants a chance to appeal to federal law enforcement after arrest and after a conviction” in a tribal court.

  • ordinarysparrow

    KP you might find this link of interest…

    The Justice Department has found that Native women are victims of violent crime at 3-1/2 times the national average, with advocates saying the actual figure is much higher because many victims mistrust authorities and don’t report such crime. The department says 70 percent of sexual assaults are never reported.

    “The law can be tricky,” El-Fakahany says. “In Minnesota, tribal police can’t go after non-Natives, but tribal and state law enforcement can go after Natives. Basically, there are non-Native perpetrators who don’t have to be held accountable for their actions, but Natives do.”

    In all other states, federal and tribal governments maintain concurrent jurisdiction for major crimes committed in Indian Country. Tribal governments have jurisdiction over all crimes that are committed in Indian Country and involve a Native offender and Native victim. States retain jurisdiction for non-Native crimes committed in Indian country but only those in which neither offender nor victim is a Native.

    El-Fakahany’s experiences at the resource center underscore the extent of challenge for law enforcement. “Crimes against Native women are rarely prosecuted,” she says. “We see a spike in attacks during hunting and fishing season,” adding that non-Native men “can go onto the reservations and then go back to their homes five hours away. With tribal jurisdiction, tribal police cannot touch you, and it becomes a federal matter.”

    According to the Census Bureau, 77 percent of residents on reservations and other Native lands are non-Natives, and about 56 percent of Native women are married to non-Natives. Still, tribes have no authority to prosecute a non-Native for domestic violence, even if the offender resides on the reservation where the assault occurred or is married to a tribal member.

    Am i allowed to say that each one that voted against this, because of the plight of Native women, are jerks?

  • KP

    Thanks for that link. It supports my view that the VAWA that Biden first wrote in ’94 must be passed, ASAP.

    Since we agree, but can you explain what you mean by “voted against this, because of the plight of Native women”?

    I got the feeling they voted against it because the prosecution of accused abusers crosses Nations and that can be complicated. I don’t think it has anything at all to do with being in favor of abusers, or against the abused.
    Does that make sense or am I missing something?

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    Hi Taylor,

    Thanks for posting about this important issue.

    I am still trying to understand the reason those 22 Republicans voted against this bill and appreciate KP’s explanation, but still have questions.

    If indeed those Republicans voted against it because of some jurisdictional issue — especially if the jurisdictional “side” they support protects, shields the perpetrators or in any way makes prosecution of the perpetrators more complicated — then certainly OS should be allowed “to say that each one that voted against this…are jerks.”

  • ShannonLeee

    I heard the “local” from Deliverance was the 23rd vote.

    “He got a real pretty mouth ain’t he?”

  • ordinarysparrow

    KP…. All i meant was the ones above voted against it…


    They are not saying it is because of Native women…

    I am saying because of the horrific violence against Native women that has been going on for years, that should be of the utmost concern and high priority.

    ” I got the feeling they voted against it because the prosecution of accused abusers crosses Nations and that can be complicated>”

    What they have is federal and the feds dont waste their times with prosecuting rapes on tribal lands.

    Have followed this issue for years, and they need to figure out something to protect Native women and prosecute those responsible. One out of three are raped.

  • Enkindle


    That is absolutely terrible.

    I tried violence against a Native American woman once. Tried to trip her in sixth grade. Got my butt kicked.

  • sheknows

    My daughter works for Legal Aid in Ne as the asst head of the Native American program. She usually goes to court on the reservations and deals with placement of children in cases of domestic violence. Here in Nebraska, tribal council listens to complaints by both parties and the state makes the decision. 9 out of 10 times the tribal court goes along with what the state decides. They have no power in and of themselves to overturn a decision by the state, but they can appeal.
    This problem of not being able to “prosecute” non-natives is just a small part of the injustice the Native Americans face. It is a deplorable condition and there is absolutely no reason on God’s earth that any politician should vote against the bill. The word “prosecute” has some scary connotations for our white Republican lawmakers. It’s almost as though they would be allowing them to behave as humans, with dignity and respect…something they clearly have a BIG problem with. Also…they don’t give a damn. Not a demographic they consider important.

  • sheknows

    Saw Ne.Senator Johannes face up there. Puke!! Just sent him a scorching e-mail.

  • KP

    @OS”Have followed this issue for years, and they need to figure out something to protect Native women and prosecute those responsible. One out of three are raped.”

    Thanks for sharing ordibarysparrow. I haven’t followed this for years but I completely agree with you and others.

    Can you help me understand how the original VAWA laws, written by Vice President Biden in 1994, were so ineffective for fourteen years? Is it a local law enforcement issue? Is it a state law enforcement issue? Is it a federal law enforcement issue? Is it a Native issue? Is it all of the above?

    Since almost 1 in 5 women in America are raped or sexually abused and only a fraction of them are prosecuted, we are dealing with a greater American issue on a national scale and some very bad numbers. The percentage is higher than that in my experience.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Here is a good link to read, from the New York Times….KP this might be informative to explain more of the complexity of the issue…From my understanding, what happens on the Tribal Lands is what one might expect in a Third World Nation…I have heard of many accounts of non-Native sexual predators targeting women and children knowing there is no accountability…Many Native women that live on Tribal Lands have little trust in Non-Native government agencies, and since the only way the predators can be prosecuted is by the FEDS. Most of the women will not even attempt to bring a claim, their own tribes are helpless as far as the laws… And if a woman does bring it to the FEDS there is little or no action taken.

    KP maybe this link will supply some more information about the opposition…

    Measure to Protect Women Stuck on Tribal Land Issue

    “When you see these amendments that give more rights to perpetrators than Native women, you start to wonder where the balance is,” she said. “We would give any other community in this country the resources and tools they need for justice, but we won’t give them to the Indians.”

    Mr. Cole, whose state has one of the largest Indian populations in the country, agreed, to a point. He said some of his colleagues seem to “fear Indians are going to take out 500 years of mistreatment on us through this.”

    “It’s that kind of fear, veiled in constitutional theories,” he said.

    Republican leaders are eager to tamp down such accusations. Mr. Cantor took to the House floor last week to assure Democratic leaders that he cares “very deeply about women in the abuse situation, that we need to get them the relief that this bill offers,” and that he is even enlisting Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. in the talks.

    But, he warned, “There’s been the introduction of some issues that are not directly related to the situation of domestic abuse on tribal lands.”

    Another link, first person account…

  • ordinarysparrow

    One more link… i do not know how Steve K is able to create a YouTube link here… so will just share this from Youtube…If you are interested in this issue well worth the time..

    Andrea Smith: Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide

    In this lecture, author, scholar, and activist Andrea Smith of INCITE! Women of Color against Violence discussed sexual violence in American Indian communities and the role of sexual violence in genocide. Smith argues hat sexual violence is an inherent part of the colonial project. She also asserts that sexual violence–as a weapon of both patriarchy and colonialism–must be approached from an anti-colonial perspective. Finally, she shares her thoughts on organizing against sexual violence and argues for a “mass movement” against sexual violence that exists outside of current non-profit structures.

  • KP

    Much appreciated, OS!

  • AntonD

    Let us be clear about this – VAWA is about discrimination against men and gender profiling. If a woman calls the police against a man, he automatically goes to jail without any evidence because of mandatory arrest policy under VAWA. In any other situation sexual, racial and gender profiling is not allowed, but in domestic violence it is not only allowed, it is actually imposed by VAWA at the federal level. All men are potential wife beaters under VAWA. If accused (even if accusation is obviously false because a woman has much to gain from it, like advantages in child custody or a U visa to avoid deportation), a man is guilty until proven innocent.

  • sheknows

    PULEEZE….. ignoring the FACTS about women/wives being abused is far worse than the occassional detention of the (innocent) man. A man who just incidentally is usually on the scene or just left it and is drunk. You haven’t seen the end product of these cases apparently. Try talking with women in a hospital whose face looks like hamburger and whose children are terrified and in a shelter.

    Thankfully enough MEN in our body politic find the case in favor of women being the victim most all of the time.

  • roro80

    ordinarysparrow — I would love to wrap you in hugs if I could. This issue is so important, and so few know about the shameful rates of rape and other abuse to Native women. Thank you for highlighting it here.

  • roro80

    Oops, it looks like someone’s MRA buddies showed up…

  • KP

    @sheknows “ignoring the FACTS about women/wives being abused is far worse than the occassional detention of the (innocent) man.”

    Wait wait wait … you are uncomfortably close the the “n” controversy.

    Our justice system should not ignore facts. However, we prefer a murderer go free over sentencing an innocent man to life in prison or the death panalty.


    I am all for protecting Native women, my wife, my sister, my two daughters. But I am not willing to be tossed into the mix of those _convicted_ unjustly.

    “Virtually all of the Supreme Court-level n-guilty-men jurisprudence was created in the 1970s, starting with In re Winship (1970). The majority opinion in Winship stated that “it is critical that the moral force of the criminal law not be diluted by a standard of proof that leaves people in doubt whether innocent men are being condemned.” Justice Harlan’s concurring opinion, though, was much stronger and has been more widely cited. “I view the requirement of proof beyond a reasonable doubt in a criminal case,” Justice Harlan wrote, “as bottomed on a fundamental value determination of our society that it is far worse to convict an innocent man than to let a guilty man go free.”

    What is okay? Is it merely “a few,” “some,” “several,” “many”, “a considerable amount,” or even “a goodly number?”

  • zusa1

    It bothers me that the root of the problem regarding Native women is the federal government’s dereliction of duty regarding prosecution of these crimes. I found an article stating that the DOJ is hiring 28 more prosecutors and that they have been instructed to prioritize the prosecution of crimes against Indian women and children. Instead of creating an exception regarding the use of Tribal Court, perhaps designate a minimum threshold of evidence collected by the Tribe that would trigger a mandatory federal investigation/prosecution. In other words, force the DOJ to do its job.

  • KP

    Thanks to Taylor and other commentators for furthering my education on this horrible situation that Native women face. Much appreciated.

  • sheknows

    Thanks Zusai. Excellent link.
    Just want to say KP that I am in no way condoning the imprisonment of an innocent man, nor am I saying it isn’t a travesty. What I am saying is when you are about the task of cleaning up a huge problem, like using a net to clean the waters of plastic waste, once and awhile you may snag a fish. Our whole legal process is imperfect in that regard.
    But we do the best we can without making the MAJORITY suffer for what might possibly happen to the minority. That’s like the gun argument. Lets do nothing because we can’t guarantee every possible contingency. In the face of such horrible treatment and no legal protection, it is the greater good.

  • adelinesdad

    Although I think we must be careful about criticizing politicians for voting against things that have nice titles (there is no discussion of the actual content of the bill in the OP), all-in-all I agree that the reauthorization of VAWA is common sense. I’m OK with the idea that if I’m accused of a violent crime on tribal lands then I’m subject to the laws of that land. I would expect certain agreements to be worked out between the various authorities to make sure I’m treated fairly but I would expect the tribal courts to have ultimate jurisdiction.

    I would/do have a problem with mandatory arrest laws, but they have not been included in VAWA since 2005. Granted, my understanding is that many state’s still have them on the books from when they were implemented under VAWA, which is unfortunate and is a case study in unintended consequences, but doesn’t have anything to do with reauthorization of VAWA in its current form.

    But to address the “n” argument. Of course with any legal system it is never possible to guarantee that only guilty people are detained and/or punished. There is a balance that must be struck. However, the issue of profiling is a different matter. The “n” argument only applies when we can assume that all of us are roughly equally likely to be the “1” in that calculation.

    We would not and should not accept racial profiling no matter how worthy the cause (including homeland security, as far as I’m concerned), so I don’t think we should accept it for gender profiling either. And I think it’s pretty obvious that an officer responding to a domestic dispute who is biased towards assuming the man is the principle offender, whether it is official policy or not, is engaging in gender profiling. The potential for this problem exists regardless of the mandatory arrest policy, and we must be careful that the VAWA is not used to perpetuate it, but mandatory arrest heightens this problem by forcing the officer to make a binary decision rather than following a more nuanced approach adjusted for the complexities of each individual situation, which may or may not involve an arrest.

  • ordinarysparrow

    Repectfully disagree with your summation Adelinesdad…

    When there is any where equal of numbers and degree of the violence towards men as there IS towards women on this planet…then perhaps i can listen to your opinion with a greater sense of seeing it as valuable..Yes, there is violence towards me, but the degree and the extent pales to the atrocious number of women that are violated on this planet.

    The most difficult part of social change is not those that advocate for change, but for those that have the power, and will fight to their deaths to maintain that power… Rape is not about sex, it is about power…

    Once again i will copy and print… this… I Am Over It….

    I am over rape.

    I am over rape culture, rape mentality, rape pages on Facebook.

    I am over the thousands of people who signed those pages with their real names without shame.

    I am over people demanding their right to rape pages, and calling it freedom of speech or justifying it as a joke.

    I am over people not understanding that rape is not a joke and I am over being told I don’t have a sense of humor, and women don’t have a sense of humor, when most women I know (and I know a lot) are really fucking funny. We just don’t think that uninvited penises up our anus, or our vagina is a laugh riot.

    I am over how long it seems to take anyone to ever respond to rape.

    I am over Facebook taking weeks to take down rape pages.

    I am over the hundreds of thousands of women in Congo still waiting for the rapes to end and the rapists to be held accountable.

    I am over the thousands of women in Bosnia, Burma, Pakistan, South Africa, Guatemala, Sierra Leone, Haiti, Afghanistan, Libya, you name a place, still waiting for justice.

    I am over rape happening in broad daylight.

    I am over the 207 clinics in Ecuador supported by the government that are capturing, raping, and torturing lesbians to make them straight.

    I am over one in three women in the U.S military (Happy Veterans Day!) getting raped by their so-called “comrades.”

    I am over the forces that deny women who have been raped the right to have an abortion.

    I am over the fact that after four women came forward with allegations that Herman Cain groped them and grabbed them and humiliated them, he is still running for the President of the United States.

    And I’m over CNBC debate host Maria Bartiromo getting booed when she asked him about it. She was booed, not Herman Cain.

    Which reminds me, I am so over the students at Penn State who protested the justice system instead of the alleged rapist pedophile of at least 8 boys, or his boss Joe Paterno, who did nothing to protect those children after knowing what was happening to them.

    I am over rape victims becoming re-raped when they go public.

    I am over starving Somalian women being raped at the Dadaab refugee camp in Kenya, and I am over women getting raped at Occupy Wall Street and being quiet about it because they were protecting a movement which is fighting to end the pillaging and raping of the economy and the earth, as if the rape of their bodies was something separate.

    I am over women still being silent about rape, because they are made to believe it’s their fault or they did something to make it happen.

    I am over violence against women not being a #1 international priority when one out of three women will be raped or beaten in her lifetime — the destruction and muting and undermining of women is the destruction of life itself.

    No women, no future, duh.

    I am over this rape culture where the privileged with political and physical and economic might, take what and who they want, when they want it, as much as they want, any time they want it.

    I am over the endless resurrection of the careers of rapists and sexual exploiters — film directors, world leaders, corporate executives, movie stars, athletes — while the lives of the women they violated are permanently destroyed, often forcing them to live in social and emotional exile.

    I am over the passivity of good men. Where the hell are you?

    You live with us, make love with us, father us, befriend us, brother us, get nurtured and mothered and eternally supported by us, so why aren’t you standing with us? Why aren’t you driven to the point of madness and action by the rape and humiliation of us?

    I am over years and years of being over rape.

    And thinking about rape every day of my life since I was 5-years-old.

    And getting sick from rape, and depressed from rape, and enraged by rape.

    And reading my insanely crowded inbox of rape horror stories every hour of every single day.

    I am over being polite about rape. It’s been too long now, we have been too understanding.

    We need to OCCUPYRAPE in every school, park, radio, TV station, household, office, factory, refugee camp, military base, back room, night club, alleyway, courtroom, UN office. We need people to truly try and imagine — once and for all — what it feels like to have your body invaded, your mind splintered, your soul shattered. We need to let our rage and our compassion connect us so we can change the paradigm of global rape.

    There are approximately one billion women on the planet who have been violated.


    The time is now. Prepare for the escalation.

    Today it begins, moving toward February 14, 2013, when one billion women will rise to end rape.

    Because we are over it.

    I am over Native women, being raped and not having protection by laws that are willing to prosecute the ones that violate. Whether that be male or woman as rapist, the woman and children that are raped need protection…

    Strange how calls of equality are yahooed differently with different subjects…

    There continue to be many White men here in our country do not like giving up power… That vein runs deep through the Republican river when it comes to women’s issues.

    ” I am over the passivity of good men. Where are you?”

  • ordinarysparrow

    correction; Yes, there is violence towards men, but the degree and the extent pales to the atrocious number of women that are violated on this planet.

    I do not minimize the experience and degree of damage that rape can do to men…that is not the intent… just saying, the extent and degree is not nearly at the place that nullifies the additional protection for women when it comes to rape and domestic violence….

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist

    @ Ordinarysparrow,

    Thank you so much for your “I am over rape”

    It was sorely needed.

  • DORIAN DE WIND, Military Affairs Columnist


    Thank you for your “I am over…”

    It was sorely needed

  • ordinarysparrow

    Thanks Dorian….

    I also meant to leave the link to the post linked above..

  • ordinarysparrow

    Also the piece by Eve Ensler was posted 11/11/11 and she makes reference to today’s event…

    Washington Post has a post today about the anti-violence events planned for today…

  • adelinesdad


    I admire your passion for this issue. It would probably be empty words for me to say that I share it, since the truth is although I abhor violence and especially towards the vulnerable and especially something as vile as rape, I can’t honestly say my reaction to the issue is as fervent as yours. Perhaps I am one of those passive men and need to do some soul searching on the issue. Maybe proving that point, I feel the need to nitpick on this point…

    “When there is any where equal of numbers and degree of the violence towards men as there IS towards women on this planet…”

    My points are limited in scope to the US since the issue at hand is a matter of US domestic policy. And in the US men are more likely to be victims of violent crime, even “serious violent crime” defined as including rape, sexual assault, robbery, and aggravated assault (not saying that men lead in all of those sub-categories, of course), and the trend is in the direction of widening the gap: (table 5). And of course men are much more likely to be victims of homicide: (table 1). Women are much more likely to be raped and be the victims of domestic abuse (I trust I don’t need to link to one of the many sources on that). I’d say violence is a problem for both sexes, quantitatively similar though the nature of the problem differs for each.

    But I say that’s a nitpick because I’m not saying that violence against women isn’t an issue that needs to be addressed, just not because it’s more prevalent than violence against men. Maybe it’s because rape is a particularly vile crime, though so is murder (trying to determine which is worse is, I believe, a pointless exercise), or maybe it’s because I still hold to the increasingly politically incorrect view that there are different obligations of society towards men and women, and that the safety of women is of the utmost importance. Or maybe it’s just because I recognize that the problem of violence against men and women are mostly different problems that require a different set of solutions. But whatever the reason, I support efforts such as VAWA to do whatever we can, within reason, to extinguish violence against women.

    My point is simply that I just won’t go so far as to say that we should profile against men, in cases where it’s the woman’s word against the man’s. My point was specifically regarding domestic abuse but it could be applied to allegations of rape also. I would not want to see VAWA used to perpetuate such profiling. Surely we can do a lot of great things that contribute to a solution to the problem without resorting to profiling. If you disagree with that, and assuming you don’t support racial profiling against African Americans for the purpose of curbing violence or against middle-easterners for the purpose of combating terrorism, I’d be interested to know how we can reconcile those views. Is it that those forms of profiling are fundamentally different, or statistically unfounded, or is it that the issue of violence against women is of much greater importance?

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