GOP Asks Violence Against Women Act To ‘Run Fetch Us Some Coffee’; Give It Pat On Butt
Washington, DC (AP) House Republicans took up discussion today of the Violence Against Women Act, telling it not to worry its pretty little head about complicated legislation and asking it to get drinks for all the Congressmen.
The pending bill, introduced by NY Democrat Nita Lowy, would levy severe penalties against individuals or institutions that promote or tolerate mistreatment of women. A similar bill in the Senate has been probed extensively by Republicans seeking vulnerabilities, and has been attracting significant attention on the chamber floor.
Lowy proposed the legislation after receiving repeated complaints from constituents about a lack of federal muscle behind enforcement of sexual harassment and assault complaints, especially in the armed services. Women who complain to superiors about sexual harassment or rape in the military often find themselves ostracized, disbelieved, or facing disciplinary consequences for going “over the head” of those who allegedly perpetrate or tolerate the behavior. Similar bills have received inauspicious receptions from Republicans, usually involving a not-so-oblique reference to the proposal’s proper place being in the Congressional kitchen.
“There has always been talk of a glass ceiling when it comes to legislation in favor of women,” said Lowy to reporters. “It’s past time that Congress take seriously those proposals that would enhance women’s abilities to defend and exercise their rights,” she continued, noting that VAWA had already been greeted with catcalls, innuendo and discriminatory comments.
Women’s legislation has historically struggled to compete with the male-dominated body of proposed laws, according to Congressional historian Phil LeBuster. “Getting women the vote almost a century ago was really more of an exception than the rule,” in GOP-dominated legislatures, he explained. “This has been especially prominent since the rise of the Tea Party, where it has always been the women’s legislation that is expected to serve the tea, clean up afterwards, and simply look pretty for all the other ‘real’ legislation taking place.”
Feminists had initial high hopes for legislation during Barack Obama’s first term, when the Speaker of the House was Nancy Pelosi, the first – and so far only – woman to hold the post. But the legislation that could have advanced was unable to decide whether to assert itself or whether that would be overreaching, and it still had domestic responsibilities, and besides, it didn’t have anything appropriate to wear.