It’s Pinktober. Let the Pinkification begin.
Football cleats. Yogurt. Coffee cups. Fracking bits. M&Ms. Flight attendants. Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonade. KFC, for after you’ve drunk too many Mike’s Hard Pink Lemonades.
It’s October, which means there is no excuse for not being aware that it is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
And while women in the US have a 1 in 8-lifetime risk of being diagnosed with breast cancer, I bet you didn’t know that Breast Cancer Awareness Month actually shares October with another awareness month that affects almost 1 out of 3 women in the U.S.
Yep, October is also Domestic Violence Awareness month.
Which feels especially ironic this year since the Violence Against Women Act was supposed to be reauthorized on the eve of October.
Instead, this Republican Congress threw it into their dirty laundry pile of incomplete budget items to be figured out before December 7th.
But let’s back up, with such an aggressive title, what is the Violence Against Women Act, aka VAWA?
Basically, VAWA supports victims of domestic violence legally, financially and culturally. First passed in 1994, the original act put funds towards the investigation and prosecution of violent crimes against women and funded social service agencies that helped victims of violence, such as rape crisis centers, shelters, and legal assistance programs.
Over the years, the act has pretty much had bipartisan support and Congress continued to add provisions to the bill. Such as setting up reporting mechanisms for campus dating violence and extending protections for Native American women and the LGBTQ community.
With the expiration date looming, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, introduced a reauthorization bill this past July. It included new amendments that would limit gun access to abusers, increase funding to rape prevention programs and offer eviction protection to victims of domestic abuse.
Given that this week marks a year since the New York Times broke the Weinstein story and #metoo was born, you’d think that Congress would treat reauthorizing VAWA as a no-brainer, even just for optics.
And yet, here we are.
Best case scenario? It’s not that the Republicans in Congress don’t care about violence against women, per se. It’s just can’t can’t get their shit together, per usual. Which still implies that curbing violence against women isn’t a priority, but I digress.
Worst case scenario, Republicans actually don’t want to reauthorize this bill. Which is a pretty easy accusation since not a single Republican has co-sponsored the current reauthorization bill.
And if current actions, or inactions, aren’t proof enough, maybe we could look to history, at the last time the bill was reauthorized in 2013. When some of your fan favorite Senate Republicans did vote against the reauthorization. I bet you can’t guess which ones.
So, come November, if we can’t manage to vote out the clowns who won’t prioritize this reauthorization, women’s shelters better take a cue from Susan G Komen and start hitting up Wendy’s for some corporate sponsorship.