Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Monday openly admitted that she opposed the latest reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it included protections for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.
In an appearance on MSNBC, Blackburn pointed out that the latest iteration of the law protects “different groups” and thus dilutes funding for straight, non-Native American women with the proper documentation:
When you start to make this about other things it becomes an “against violence act” and not a targeted focus act… I didn’t like the way it was expanded to include other different groups. What you need is something that is focused specifically to help the shelters and to help out law enforcement, who is trying to work with the crimes that have been committed against women and helping them to stand up.
Domestic violence is domestic violence, period. And there is no way to justify Blackburn’s suggestion that some victims of this violence are more deserving than others. The reauthorized VAWA allows programs targeting LGBT victims of domestic violence to compete on equal footing for grant money with other groups serving underserved populations, and it ensures that LGBT victims will not be turned away from shelters and other services because of their sexual orientation or gender identity. These victims of violence deserve the same protections as anyone else caught in domestic abuse.
Additionally, the reauthorized VAWA includes provisions to prevent serial rapists and similar abusers from preying on Native American women. If Blackburn considers Native American women a “different group,” then it’s one she should be most concerned about: Three out of every five Native American women has been assaulted by an intimate partner.