Rape in India and the VAWA

As I hope my sarcastic reference to rape apologists in the last post reflected, rape is among the ugliest phenomena of our species, and not something to be rationalized or made light of. The recent gang rape incident in New Delhi has appropriately spurred a lot of outrage, and some important reflection, as with a E.J. Graff column at TAP that after a long and eloquent discussion of “rape culture” brings it all home:

I can only hope that the response to the attack in India includes outrage at congressional Republicans’ astounding refusal to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), one of the most effective tools to help prevent such violence, which the Prospect‘s Jamelle Bouie has already told you about. In its past 18 years, it has funded tremendously useful projects ranging from a stalking help line to statistical research to law-enforcement training in responding to intimate-partner violence. According to the National Organization for Women’s reading of Bureau of Justice statistics, in the first 15 years after VAWA was originally passed, intimate-partner violence homicides dropped by 53 percent, and female homicides dropped 43 percent. While of course that cannot all be attributed to VAWA—homicide deaths in general have fallen during that period, for a myriad of reasons—VAWA has been an important tool in training, educating, funding, and helping to enforce new norms. If this were called “domestic terrorism,” far more of the nation’s budget would be dedicated to end it. You’d think that their November loss at the ballot would’ve educated Republicans about the fact that women actually vote. But some people learn very, very slowly.

Ed Kilgore

Ed Kilgore, a Monthly contributing editor, is a columnist for the Daily Intelligencer, New York magazine’s politics blog, and the managing editor for the Democratic Strategist.