Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.

Violence Against Women Act becomes political victim | Roegner

The last thing this country need is to politicize violence against women.

The Violence Against Women Act was introduced by then-United States Senator and current President Joe Biden in 1994 as a means to protect women from domestic violence, sexual assault and stalking. It got bipartisan support and passed overwhelmingly.

The original act set aside $1.6 billion to help women and also established an office in the Department of Justice. The legislation has been reauthorized several times in the intervening years with support from both parties.

But everything in our nation’s capital has become more divided, and compromise has become an endangered concept. The legislation lapsed in 2019. Recently, in honor of National Women’s Month, and to sadly acknowledge that six of the eight people murdered in Atlanta recently were women, the Democratic-controlled House passed the reauthorization 244-to-172 with 29 Republicans voting with Democrats.

Republican opposition is apparently tied to adding a “boyfriend” category, which includes dating partners and stalkers, to the provision banning spouses convicted of domestic violence or abuse from owning firearms. It appears that the National Rifle Association is opposed to extending the ban and argues that the Democrats are trying to erode Second Amendment rights. The bill also expands protections for Native American, transgender and immigrant women.

With 51.1 % of all women having been raped by an intimate partner and 41% by an acquaintance, it would seem that adding the wording may make women safer. As recently as 2005, it was reported 1,181 women had been murdered by an intimate partner.

As with many policies, reauthorization may run into challenges based on political needs in the split Senate. But pitting women’s safety against guns to hold up the legislation is an overreaction to what should be a unanimous vote in both Houses. The last time the bill was reauthorized in 2013, there were 23 Republicans in the Senate, and 87 Republicans in the Republican-controlled House voted for it.

Last year, rather than try and include issues in their platform that Black voters care about, Republicans alienated many Black voters, paricularly Black women, by behaving as if they didn’t care about the votes of people of color. It cost them Georgia. This year, Republicans seem intent upon alienating the rest of women voters who make up half the voting population.

Republicans have said they will craft their own bill to show what they will support. They should remember that all police hate domestic violence calls more than any other calls as they frequently end up with a police officer getting hurt. The Republican bill will likely show deletion of dating partners, stalkers and guns.

I would like to believe that both parties care enough about women and fully share Atlanta’s grief, that they want to demonstrate they can agree on something and vote for the Democratic bill. And that should be the first step in political messaging for 2022. Make everyone vote on the bill as is.

However, for compromise, leave guns and dating partners in the bill, but delete stalkers. If that doesn’t pass, then at least the public will know each party’s priorities and values. What should be most important — our mothers, daughters, sisters, spouses and girlfriends? Or guns? That should be an easy question to answer, but apparently it isn’t.

Federal Way resident Bob Roegner is a former mayor of Auburn. Contact bjroegner@comcast.net.


Talk to us

Please share your story tips by emailing editor@kentreporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.kentreporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) Please keep letters to 300 words or less.

More in Opinion

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
America needs ‘all of the above’ energy approach | Brunell

In 2023, one of the most significant shifts America needs is to… Continue reading

Cartoon by Frank Shiers
Welcome to the big show, Dori | Shiers

From cartoonist Frank Shiers: You probably know that I worked at KIRO… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
‘I must have driven through a barn’ and other stories of grace | Whale’s Tales

My brother, Jack, and I were jabbering on Christmas Eve about all… Continue reading

Keith Livingston is a retired municipal management professional, lifelong artist and Federal Way resident. He can be reached at keithlivingstondesign@gmail.com.
Let’s say our 8 billionth person was born in South King County | Livingston

The United Nations announced Nov. 8 that the world had just welcomed… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
When old age asks the new year for a dance | Whale’s Tales

One of the important lessons the dawning of each new year has… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
Wreaths honor veterans at cemeteries across America | Brunell

The holiday season is an especially difficult time for anyone grieving lost… Continue reading

Hilde at her 103rd birthday party. Photo by Alex Bruell.
Lessons from Hilde, who fled Nazi Germany for a better life

Here’s a few things my great-aunt would have liked you to know.

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
Highs and lows of brick-and-mortar holiday shopping | Brunell

The good news is, despite higher prices, inflation and safety concerns, more… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
Thanksgiving and the Whale kitchen’s eternal warmth | Whale’s Tales

Looking today at the North Auburn home in which I grew up… Continue reading

Robert Whale can be reached at rwhale@soundpublishing.com.
The ‘ignoranting’ of Americans in the age of false narratives | Whale’s Tales

Many sweeping generalizations stalk our land today, making no distinctions between diverse… Continue reading

Don C. Brunell is a business analyst, writer and columnist. He is a former president of the Association of Washington Business, the state’s oldest and largest business organization, and lives in Vancouver. Contact thebrunells@msn.com.
Honoring fallen heroes goes beyond lowering flags to half-mast | Brunell

Lowering our flags to half-staff is a solemn act that recognizes our… Continue reading