My Take: Violence Against Women Act Should Include Men

The renewal of the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2011 and must be quickly voted on and passed to ensure the continuance of its services, has sparked partisan debate. The act enables the Department of Justice and and Health and Human Services to create and support comprehensive, effective, and cost saving programs to respond to crimes of domestic and dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

The democrats seem to be in favor of the new provisions, which includes incorporating immigrants and same-sex couples into the act. While, Republicans seem to be hesitant on including these two groups.

And while I commemorate the fact that this act will recognize two groups that are often left out, I must say that I feel like the act will still fall short of accomplishing its goal, which is to provide resources and assistance to those who are victims of abuse. In order to fully accomplish its goal, the act must also incorporate another group that is often left out: men. People often forget that men can be victims of abuse, too. We often hear about women being sexually/physically/mentally abused, but seldom hear about the cases where a man is the victim. But it does happen, and it needs to be recognized.

Yes, men are generally stronger then women, but that does not mean they deserve less protection. They can be victims, too, and deserve to have the full protection that women have.

Related articles: Feministing and CNN


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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6 Responses to My Take: Violence Against Women Act Should Include Men

  1. Bob W Cain says:

    If you treat everyone in a manner you wish to be treated … problem solved! … 1st rule of life!

  2. M says:

    I am a little confused, I was under the impression that the new updated STOP grant DID include provisions for men. I only read a summary though so I could be mistaken…

    • Haley Behre says:

      I have not heard of STOP…but my analysis is coming from the Violence Against Women Act, which expired in 2011 and is up for re-authorization. The act proposes covering two new groups of people: gay couples and undocumented women. However, it does not include men- a group I think the act should cover.

      • M says:

        STOP is one of the provisions proposed to the VAWA.
        I read a summary by Sen. Leahy from Vermont stating “…while VAWA’s focus on violence against women appropriately reflects the disproportionate number of women who experience severe forms of domestic and sexual violence, men are also the victims of these crimes. This section adds purpose areas so states may target the needs of male victims. It also clarifies that funds may be used for programs aimed at supporting victims who have had difficulty accessing traditional services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity, a problem indicated in recent surveys.”
        After I read your post I did some digging into Section 101 under Title I of the Violence Against Women Reauthorization Act of 2011. Along with males in the LBGTQ community, it includes males who are victims of sexual assault in correctional/detention centers and allows states to use some of their allocation to assist programs that all genders benefit from. Not saying its enough, but I also don’t think it’s nothing and it is more than past authorized acts afforded.

      • Haley Behre says:

        Yes, I am aware that VAWA does not explicitly discriminate against men and that services are provided to them if need be. I am sorry if what I was saying is unclear…I just think that the word “men” should be clearly stated in the bill itself (i.e. make it Violence Against Persons Act). Too often, violence against men goes unreported and too many people are not aware that violence/sexual assault happens to people in general- regardless of race, gender, sexuality, etc. And while there was that one provision in the reauthorization act- it is the only language that tries to prevent violence against men. The rest of the act talks about men being perpetrators and trying to engage them in preventing domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking.

        REPEAL 42 U.S.C. § 14043d-4 (Engaging men and youth in preventing domestic violence,
        dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking). (p.72)

        (3) Engaging Men as Leaders and Role Models.— To develop, maintain or enhance
        programs that work with men to prevent domestic violence, dating violence, sexual
        assault, and stalking by helping men to serve as role models and social influencers of
        other men and youth at the individual, school, community or statewide levels.(p.73)

        All I am saying is that we should stop treating men as the perpetrators and universally acknowledge the fact that they are victims, too. The specific example you provide is a good start, but it is NOWHERE near enough.

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