The Violence Against Women Act has not been re-authorized, leaving many women vulnerable.
House GOP allows the Violence Against Women Act to expire for the first time since its creation in 1994. This Act will be expired officially until the next Congress.
Why did the VAWA fail to be re-authorized?
By looking at the House Republicans we have today, it is easy to see why they did not allow re-authorization. Rep. Eric Cantor and others worked very hard to keep the updated bill from re-authorization. In addition to not helping LGBT people, Native Americans and immigrants, they also blocked funding for the disabled and for victims of Hurricane Sandy.
Though Cantor says that he’s willing to negotiate the bill’s exclusion of immigrant, lesbian and trans women, he is apparently unwilling to change his stance for Native American women.
What does this mean for Reservations and immigrant women?
This now basically diminishes completely the assistance from federal and state law enforcement on tribal land. In other words, if a non-Native person is attacked or attacks someone on tribal land, be it sexual assault or even murder, the person could get away with it.
According to a General Accounting Office report on “Department of Justice Declinations of Indian Country Criminal Matters,” 52 percent of crimes committed on tribal lands had no help from federal prosecutors. Of the declined cases “67 percent were sexual abuse and related cases.”
What will be the next step?
Because the bill was not re-authorized, advocacy groups will now be forced to start all over again with the new Congress.