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Joni Ernst: Democrats' Violence Against Women Act pressures women to negotiate with abusers

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Thirty years ago, before the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) became law, domestic violence was viewed as a behind-closed-doors, private matter between husband and wife. Victims were often told to just deal with it — weathering the emotional and physical impacts of abuse alone — sometimes even being blamed for causing the strife. Resources and services were scarce, and women had nowhere to turn. 

Since its inception, VAWA has strengthened local, state, tribal, and federal responses to domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault, and stalking. Because of this important legislation, women now have places to turn for support. 

Fortunately,Congress has continued to fund the VAWA programs year after year despite their “unauthorized” status because of folks like myself and others who recognize the need to ensure survivors are supported. But the fight over getting the bill reauthorized and modernized has become all too polarizing. My Democratic colleagues continue to read from the same script, year after year, attempting to hijack a bill for their own agenda on everything from gun control to sexual orientation. And admittedly some of my Republican colleagues have their own routine concerns with VAWA.  

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