Since 1994 when Congress passed it, the “Violence Against Women Act” has been the weapon against domestic violence. The act was to be reauthorized in 2012 to include gays, undocumented immigrants, American Indians and students. Republicans in the Senate joined Democrats to approve the reauthorization, Republicans in the House did not. Then the Republicans took a beating in the 2012 Presidential elections, and the reauthorization of the bill is back on the floor of the senate in February, with Republicans now more accommodating to compromises, as they hope to lure women and latinos back (or finally) into their ranks.
One may think that at least, this hard-learned lesson in political realism is for the greater good – the end of domestic violence. Wrong: the tackling of this problem has been nothing but petty, parochial politics (PPP) and PPP it remains.
Why? We now know that domestic violence is not only the deed of men against women, but also that of women against men and children: physical violence along with a less apparent but as pernicious a form of violence, parental alienation, which is given a free ride in family courts, which are women-biased courts. The very fact that domestic violence is defined as domestic violence against women gives women leeway to overuse of the accusation of domestic violence, to get the divorce they want and expel their ex from the life of their children.
Want to solve domestic violence? Change course and instead of adding categories of victims, throw universality into the law already. Just pass a Domestic Violence Act, that will aim at protecting women, gays, immigrants, American Indians and… men, too.