A ranty, funny, dead-serious intersectional feminist blog.

One Woman Voted Against VAWA…Twice

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Via Wikimedia Commons.

Meet Kristi Noem. Yesterday she distinguished herself as the only woman in Congress to vote against both the House and Senate versions of the Violence Against Women Act.  While you ponder that, here’s a bit about her from Wikipedia:

Kristi Noem (born November 30, 1971) is the U.S. Representative for South Dakota’s at-large congressional district, serving since January 2011.[1] She is a member of the Republican Party and has been elected to the Republican Leadership for the 112th Congress as one of its two freshman representatives.[5] She previously represented the 6th District in the South Dakota House of Representatives for four years, serving as an Assistant Majority Leader during her final year. She is a farmer, rancher and small business owner by profession.

Many on her Facebook page (male and female–even some Republicans) are asking for an explanation, but I found no official statement on her page. Apparently this is not a cut and dried issue for her, as she has waffled on it before. According to a statement to press after the vote, she believes the VAWA will “muddy the waters with constitutionally questionable provisions that will likely only delay justice.”

Also, according to the Argus Leader, Noem has plans to…compensate? for voting against women by introducing new legislation in future:

Noem said she soon will introduce a bill to help victims of domestic abuse in Indian tribes. The measure will include a series of provisions, including improving coordination between U.S. and tribal law enforcement.

Yeah, sorry, but…no.

Republicans voting against VAWA

This is what the war on women looks like.

To see Ms. Noem among these white Republican men in this context is so bizarre to me. As one Facebook commenter said, “How could anyone with a uterus vote against VAWA?” But even more bizarre was seeing this from one female commenter:

Susi's Comment

And this, also from a woman:

Henri's comment

I’m never surprised to see men bashing VAWA. To be clear, I’m never surprised to see men defending VAWA, either–it’s just that most VAWA opposition I’ve encountered comes directly from Men’s Rights Activists who claim that the Violence Against Women Act is a conspiracy by feminists to strip them of their parental rights and destroy the institution of the traditional American family. The rest has come from white, male politicians who honestly seem worried that they or one of their friends might find themselves subject to reservation justice, which when you think about it is pretty gross. But why else oppose protections for Native American women raped by men who are not members of the reservation they chose to perpetrate their crime (often repeatedly)?

But when I see women caught up in opposing their own rights and protections, I just feel sick. Who are these women, and how did someone convince them that VAWA was bad for them (or for anyone)? And more importantly, how do we counter this tendency?

A male commenter on MMAS recently said that women need to stand together and watch one another’s backs the way men do. I think he’s right in that women have been trained to see one another as competition for males and while some of us have risen above that and are embracing sisterhood, too many still don’t want to be seen as One of “Those” Girls. Men are competitive, too, but it’s just not the same, I think. When women buy into the cultural stereotypes that tell us that our sex is bitchy, naggy, and oh-so-crazy, but tolerable as long as we look cute and don’t make waves…well, what chance to we have? When women buy into conservative/MRA lies that tell them VAWA is a feminist plot or a way to complicate legal proceedings or persecute white men…how the hell do we counter that?

With the truth. Here’s some from the White House VAWA Fact Sheet:

VAWA has improved the criminal justice response to violence against women by:

  • holding rapists accountable for their crimes by strengthening federal penalties for repeat sex offenders and creating a federal “rape shield law,” which is intended to prevent offenders from using victims’ past sexual conduct against them during a rape trial;
  • mandating that victims, no matter their income levels, are not forced to bear the expense of their own rape exams or for service of a protection order;
  • keeping victims safe by requiring that a victim’s protection order will be recognized and enforced in all state, tribal, and territorial jurisdictions within the United States;
  • increasing rates of prosecution, conviction, and sentencing of offenders by helping communities develop dedicated law enforcement and prosecution units and domestic violence dockets;
  • ensuring that police respond to crisis calls and judges understand the realities of domestic and sexual violence by training law enforcement officers, prosecutors, victim advocates and judges; VAWA funds train over 500,000 law enforcement officers, prosecutors, judges, and other personnel every year;
  • providing additional tools for protecting women in Indian country by creating a new federal habitual offender crime and authorizing warrantless arrest authority for federal law enforcement officers who determine there is probable cause when responding to domestic violence cases.

National Domestic Violence Hotline 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)

VAWA also provides services for victims of domestic violence and their families. The National Domestic Violence Hotline answers 22,000 calls a month, and is the first call most victims make when they decide to seek help. And since VAWA passed in 1994, domestic violence is down nearly 70%. Programs VAWA created have resulted in greater awareness of what constitutes abuse, resulting in higher reporting rates, so more abuse victims are getting out and getting the help they need. Because of VAWA, more women understand that abuse is not “normal” and is never okay. And I’m sorry to report that making abuse a black-and-white issue is one of the things opponents of VAWA really dislike. Because some men believe they have the right to visit all manner of punishment on women so long as they don’t actually lay a hand on them, and they’d really rather we didn’t label their behavior as abusive. Well, sorry, dickheads. You lose.

As for women working against their own interests, all I can say is fight it wherever you find it, people. Women like Rep. Noem may be a lost cause (although I encourage you to let her know what you think), but too many are just asleep. And it’s time for a wake-up call.

15 responses

  1. Terry

    I came to your website looking for information about how women voted in the House regarding the VAWA. You gave me the information I needed. Thank you. And while here I heard from DaPoet that because I am a feminist I am close-minded and ignorant. I am sorry that he is so angry he cannot see any nuance and misses the big picture. When I was in high school and college your could not tell anyone you had been raped. it was such a shame heaped on women. In 1969 women had to have a much higher grade point average to be admitted to the University of Virginia as a Virginia resident than men did. It was crazy all the road blocks we had.I am a feminist because when I left my first professional job, requiring a Master’s degree, the man who followed me with his B.A. received a $2000 pay increase, up from the $9000 I received. That and many other events have made me care a lot about women’s issues. Much of the contraception and abortion debate is colored by punitive hatred of women by some men and some women too. Feminist victories over the years have made men’s and families’ lives better even as there are still problems to solve.

    March 2, 2013 at 8:35 am

    • Terry, thanks so much for your point of view. As for DaPoet, he’s kindly volunteered his time to illustrate one of the big reasons we still need feminism–because some people still believe that women lying about rape and domestic abuse is the rule rather than the exception; because some men hate and fear women so much they believe we’re actively engaged in a conspiracy to destroy them. This is what we’re up against. And this is where I think our male allies can perhaps make more headway than we can. I don’t know. It bears a lot more thought.

      March 2, 2013 at 1:00 pm

      • DaPoet

        Many years ago the US Navy conducted a study on rape accusations which concluded that 60% of the accusations were false having been made by the woman in question to avoid being charged with AWOL.

        During the Kobe Bryant trial a media consultant – a former prosecutor who’d won rape convictions his office had prosecuted – estimated the percentage of false accusations at 45%.

        Putting this together it is fair to conclude that somewhere between 45 and 60% of all rape accusations are false.

        Of course all of this has hit pretty close to home for me since:

        My dad’s third wife falsely accused one of my brothers of molesting her son causing my dad to force my brother into a mental institution to be evaluated. Resulting in his being cleared and released!

        She then attempted to falsely accuse our other brother of raping her daughter – who denied to me that anything had happened between them – who then faced the very real possibility of being dishonorably discharged from the US Navy. The resulting stress nearly overwhelmed by brother who at the time began to seriously considering taking his own life.

        She then attempted to falsely accuse me of wanting to sleep with her daughter to my wife during a visit not long after my son was born. Thankfully by then she had no credibility whatsoever so her attempt to drive a wedge between my wife and I failed.

        My dad died at the age of fifty-five as a result of liver failure brought on y an STD infection; intentionally given to my father by my first stepmother; who’d seduced her way back into his life after his third marriage ended in divorce.

        My brother from my mother’s second marriage was falsely accused of sexually molesting his adopted son by a member of his ex wife’s family during their last custody battle. About a year before he committed suicide he was forced to surrender his parental rights to both of his children. After being informed by his daughter to his face that she would have no problem whatsoever with falsely accusing him of physical abuse to a judge.

        I personally had a man to man talk with one of my neighbors when my son was in high school. Warning him to keep his daughter away from my son after she declared in my presence in another neighbor’s home that she wanted to become pregnant.

        Many years ago while browsing in the Stone Mountain Wal-mart I was physically assaulted by a black female who intentionally walked into me; without any warning whatsoever and rubbed her breasts across my chest.

        In order to avoid the very real possibility of being falsely accused of sexual harassment I personally curtail and avoid as far as possible any and all contact with my female coworkers. And I always have my wife go with me any and every time I’m required to see a female professional such as a eye or medical doctor.

        Taking into consideration the destructive effects of feminist policy on the two parent family.

        The resulting poverty suffered by children born to single mothers who wilfully refuse to marry the biological fathers of their children.

        The millions of unborn children brutally murdered through the means of an abortion used as a means of birth control.

        In my opinion it is quite reasonable conclude that the human race would be far better off today; if the ideology of feminism had been utterly rejected and tossed onto the trash heap of history.

        March 2, 2013 at 8:05 pm

  2. As always, Rosie, well said. I’ve been wondering how anyone could vote against protecting women (including lesbians) from violence, something not all local law enforcement does. I don’t need to reinforce how much hate exists toward women who speak their minds. That’s been done for me here. Men who think they need protection should lobby their reps for a similar bill.

    March 2, 2013 at 7:32 am

    • Thanks, Elsie. Yes, it’s always nice when someone shows up to provide a handy object lesson, isn’t it? :D

      March 2, 2013 at 1:02 pm

  3. Melanie

    What I have found in my dealings with domestic violence is it isn’t the legislation that delays justice, but the prosecutors who push these trials into the never-ending tunnel of continuance. These cases, unfortunately, haven’t reached the high-profile level of murders and white-collar crimes that bring headlines and large paychecks. Until prosecutors start prosecuting, abusers are allowed to continue to abuse because punishment isn’t likely to be swift, or at all.

    March 1, 2013 at 4:07 pm

    • DaPoet

      Perhaps the true reason that prosecutors delay is because of the increasing amount of false accusations of domestic violence more and more women are willing to make.

      Oh yes just as women intentionally lie about rape they also lie about domestic violence in order to gain a legal advantage over their innocent male partner.

      March 2, 2013 at 4:56 am

  4. DaPoet

    The Title – Violence Against Women’s Act – is in itself sexist as it applies only to one gender and not both. It matters little if a law is written in gender neutral language if the law itself is applied in such a manner as to violate the equal protection clause of the US Constitution. VAWA was expressly written by former Senator Joe Biden to give feminists groups access to funding for the express purpose of propagating the myth that all men are rapists and all women are victims.

    To claim otherwise is to outright lie but then again lying is second nature for a feminist and those who support them in their ongoing war against the male gender.

    March 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    • If you had come here to have an intelligent conversation, I might take a little more time to reply, but walk in here and call me a liar and you can kiss my ample feminist ass. Have a nice day!

      March 1, 2013 at 3:07 pm

      • DaPoet

        Its been my experience that it is impossible to have an intelligence conversation with a feminist.


        Because to have an intelligent conversation honesty and an open mind are required.

        Unfortunately feminists are by nature dishonest and closed minded.

        March 2, 2013 at 4:36 am

    • Melanie

      While I do agree that the title of the act could be reworded to include all intimate partner violence, I do not agree that it is some sort of propaganda to support a war against the male gender. Your attitude is not disheartening, and the battle against intimate partner violence is growing and will continue to grow because there are women like Rosie and I who will continue to stand up and speak out against it and those who promote it.

      March 1, 2013 at 3:59 pm

      • DaPoet

        Feminist’s define domestic violence as a violent act committed by a male against his female partner and demand the mandatory arrest of the male partner even when it is evident to the arresting officer that the males female partner is the aggressor and abuser.

        Child abuse is a form of domestic violence yet is ignored. Why? Because it is primarily women who commit it.

        Domestic Violence in the lesbian community is ignored for the same reason – Dana Plato stated in an interview shortly before her death that she was forced to leave her female partner because of the violence in the relationship.

        Not only have I been following these issues for well over twenty years I have also experienced it as well

        March 2, 2013 at 4:52 am

        • Melanie

          The only thing I am convinced of from your comments is that you are in fact the one with the closed mind.

          March 2, 2013 at 8:01 am

  5. I dislike intensely women who are misogynistic.

    March 1, 2013 at 3:04 pm

    • I have to think it’s a self-loathing thing, which just makes me sad and sick. :(

      March 1, 2013 at 3:05 pm

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