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Domestic violence is an issue that has plagued America for decades. Shelters have opened their doors to victims who have experienced domestic violence, and academic studies have often understood the devastating impacts that domestic abuse has on both the victim and their loved ones. Whenever people hear of stories of domestic abuse, the public will come to the aid of the victim. Health professionals are ready to assist those who have suffered from domestic violence, as well as support groups that can offer both financial and emotional foundations for the victim. And while the healing process can be long and arduous, somehow, someway, the victims are able to be encourage and empowered.
However, sometimes that isn't the case. In another article I've written, domestic violence cases have increased over the past several years. It's an epidemic that many victims continue to not report, whether it be because of fear, helplessness, or emotional attachment. This, unfortunately, includes politics. From convicted abusers in Washington, to legislation passed to combat domestic abuse, politics has presented a very confusing picture of domestic abuse.
Legislation Against Domestic Violence
Domestic violence has caught the attention of the U.S government. As such, laws are in place to help protect victims of domestic violence, as well as their loved ones, from any potential repercussions and support them during their time of need. Some of these laws include:
- The Family Violence Prevention and Services Act. This act supports victims of domestic violence and their children by providing a variety of resources and shelters for them to go to. The Administration of Children and Families, a part of the U.S Department of Health and Human Services, finances programs that provides support for victims, whether they be national, state-wide, or community-based.
- The Violence Against Women Re-authorization Act. In 2013, President Barack Obama signed an act that provided further support for survivors of domestic abuse. This includes providing services for immigrant women, as well as women of different ethnic and racial backgrounds, and protection for victims who have been evicted because of domestic violence and stalking.
- The Domestic Violence Prevention Enhancement and Leadership Through Alliances (DELTA). Supported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), this program was one of the first to address domestic violence, or intimate partner violence, as a public health issue. This program's purpose is to prevent initial victimization and reduce any risk factors associated with domestic violence. What's more, the DELTA program implements strategies backed by research that can promote social and behavioral changes that will help prevent any further domestic violence situations.
- Domestic Violence Offender Gun Ban: also called the "Lautenberg Amendment", is that bans individuals who have been convicted of domestic violence from accessing firearms.
Even more are the various support groups that domestic violence survivors have access to. Alongside local laws banning domestic violence, as well as the health professionals that can support women who have been affected by domestic violence.
Politicians and Domestic Violence
But despite all their support against domestic abuse, many politicians have been implicated in domestic violence. In fact, some have even refused to acknowledge the issue altogether. Below are just a few examples:
- The lieutenant governor of Louisiana had recently chosen to endorse a Democratic candidate for governor instead of a Republican one. The St. Tammany Republican Parish Executive Committee wrote that his actions were parallel to that of "a jilted man, firing indiscriminately at his ex-wife's car."
- Sarah Palin's eldest son, Track Palin had been charged with domestic abuse against his father. When officers arrived at the scene, he reportedly called them "peasants" and managed to get on the garage roof before finally being apprehended. When asked by CNN, Sarah Palin had blamed her son's conditions on his medications, as well as PTSD.
- Recently, the White House secretary Rob Porter had been charged with domestic violence. While Trump has attempted to defend Porter, Porter continues to draw attention from both Democrats and Republicans alike. Many have criticized Trump for supporting Porter, including former President Joe Biden.
- A Portland mayor had recently been charged with domestic violence. If convicted, he could lose his candidacy for the political race, as well as ruin his reputation for further potential political positions.
- President Trump has been known to make misogynistic comments about women in general, including his infamous, "touch em' by the pussy" comment. What's more, he's been accused of abusing his first wife, Ivana Trump, though she later dismissed these claims. Trump has also been accused of sexual misconduct over a dozen women.
- In 2016, Louisiana State Senator Troy Brown had been arrested for on a domestic battery charge. Brown pleaded not guilty. He issued a statement, stating that he will be seeing a neurosurgeon to determine "if social alcohol consumption is now affecting [his] cognitive functions in ways it has not previously."
How Politicians take Domestic Abuse
These two factors, of course, presents a complicated picture of how domestic abuse was portrayed, both as an issue, and as an accusation. Many campaigns have risen up against domestic abuse, and several conventions have been formed to combat domestic violence. Despite this, however, domestic abuse is still an issue.
For example, while both Democrats and Republicans agreed on improvements for the Violence Against Women Act of 2013, no Republican voted on the bill, simply because the bill doesn't exclude those who are immigrants, or transgender, or any other sexuality aside from heterosexuality. One Senator, Charles Grassley, offered up another bill that not only cut out these improvements, but also reduced funding, as well as eliminated the Justice Department Office devoted to "coordinating the nation's response to domestic violence and sexual assaults." The Democrats, in turn, have criticized the Republicans for such a measure, with both slander and libel flung from both sides.
What's more, while many politicians have stood to condemn cases of domestic violence, they're merely swept away the next day, to be forgotten in the midst of news and misinformation. And so, when potential voters come, they have no choice to rely on whatever the media and the politicians tell them. Even when fact checkers and muckraking journalists report to reputable news sources, it can only serve to confuse voters even now. Take Bill Clinton and Donald Trump for example; despite the various allegations from women who claim that they assaulted them, Bill Clinton continued to serve two terms, and ended his pregnancy with his highest approval ratings. And as you know Donald Trump was elected President in 2016.
Domestic abuse should not be taken lightly. Whether it be men or women, adult or child, no victim should endure the physical and psychological burdens that abuse entails. Support groups and legislation have been formed so that victims can begin the road to healing. Even public figures such as politicians have spoken out against abuse.
But despite all the good that politics had done to help promote this issue, there's much confusion surrounding it. While laws and criticism have been made against these abusers, there's also an atmosphere of an acceptance in politics, that if the politician is good at his job, it shouldn't matter what his personal life is like. From covering up potential abuses, to bribery, to corruption, there are ways for politicians to escape punishment from domestic abuse. What's more, privacy is an inherent problem that may subject the victim to further abuses.
Despite this, there are resources you can go to in order to fight back against domestic abuse. You can find just a few examples of them below.
For more information
- Domestic Violence | HuffPost
Articles for stories revolving around domestic abuse
- Raising awareness about domestic violence after #MeToo - CNN
Raising awareness within the context of #MeToo campaign
Resources available for those for victims of domestic abuse