Those attacking Congressman Ben Ray Luján for his support of the International Violence Against Women Act (IVAWA) are seriously misinformed. The critics claim that the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) is biased against men, and erroneously extend that assumption to IVAWA. If child custody decisions and enforcement of domestic violence laws seem to favor women over men, that is the consequence of local laws and court practices, rather than being required by VAWA. Furthermore, VAWA deals only with violence within the United States. IVAWA is intended to deal with the global crisis in violence against women; approximately one out of three women worldwide has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused in her lifetime, with domestic violence reaching 70% in some countries.
Working through the international assistance that the U.S. already provides, IVAWA will support best practices and innovative programs in other countries which have been shown to effectively decrease acts of violence. IVAWA is supported by Senators Bingaman and Udall as well as Representative Luján. They should be applauded rather than attacked for their support of women’s human rights.
Robert E. Pearson
Amnesty International USA
Legislative Coordinator, New Mexico