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“Support and Defend the Constitution” Means Congress Must Fix VAWA

Senator and would-be President Joe Biden wants Congress to pass his International Violence Against Women Act (I-VAWA). He seems to want to do for the world what his VAWA law has done for the U.S. But what exactly has VAWA done for the U.S.? RADAR's latest special report, "A Culture of False Allegations: How VAWA Harms Families and Children" explains the harm caused by VAWA and the various state laws it has spawned. (See http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/VAWA-A-Culture-of-False-Allegations.pdf)

  1. It defines the term "domestic violence" in an Orwellian fashion that includes almost any action, whether or not actual violence is involved. In the hands of officials like Judge Daniel Sanchez, Chairman of the Northern New Mexico DV Task Force, even the ludicrous accusation that David Letterman had committed harassment by telepathy against a "victim" he'd never met, was sufficient for the judge to issue a restraining order.
  2. It provides huge incentives to allege abuse while undermining due process protections against false allegations.
  3. It encourages arrest and prosecution in cases where such treatment is not warranted. In doing so families that could have been healed by appropriate counseling are instead ripped apart forever.
  4. It fosters ongoing animosity between parents and drives fathers out of their children's lives. As a result, it sentences these children to greatly increased rates of emotional and physical neglect and abuse from their mothers and their mothers' boyfriends. Children react by acting out in school. Their academic performance plummets. They're much more likely to get involved in violent crime. And for those children inclined to turn the pain inward, suicide rates more than double.
  5. It uses your tax dollars to teach judges to ignore the due process rights of the accused. In one such training, that was actually caught on tape, the judge conducting the training instructed the judges attending his seminar, "Your job is not to become concerned about the constitutional rights of the man that you're violating as you grant a restraining order ... Throw him out on the street, give him the clothes on his back and tell him, see ya around ... we don't have to worry about the rights."

This week please contact both of your Senators. You can find out how to contact them at http://www.senate.gov. Or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121. You may want to fax them a copy of RADAR's flyer "Violence Against Women Act: Harmful to Families and Children". (http://www.mediaradar.org/docs/RADARflyer-VAWA-Harms-Families-and-Children.pdf)

When you contact your Senators, remind them that the voters did not send them to Washington to undermine due process protections in foreign countries, as I-VAWA would do. The voters sent them to Washington to "support and defend the Constitution of the United States." Being mindful of their oath, it's time for them to get to work on fixing the countless ways that VAWA undermines due process, subverts the U.S. Constitution, and endangers our most vulnerable citizens - our children.

Date of RADAR Release: January 29, 2007

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R.A.D.A.R. – Respecting Accuracy in Domestic Abuse Reporting – is a non-profit, non-partisan organization of men and women working to improve the effectiveness of our nation's approach to solving domestic violence. http://www.mediaradar.org