Thursday, January 3, 2013

A Woman's Place is in The House



Today, this happened! More women were sworn in to the House of Representatives than ever before. These are just the Democrats!

What else happened? Tuesday, Congress failed to reauthorize the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). House Republicans refused to support the Senate version because it included new protections for undocumented immigrants and LGBT partners, and because it gave new powers to Native American authorities to adjudicate domestic violence on tribal lands. The immediate result is to cut off future funding for state-level domestic violence programs.

Look, I know Washington was a busy driving off the fiscal cliff last week. But the Senate passed their version of VAWA in April. If John Boehner gave a damn about it, they could have done something in the past eight months. Nancy Pelosi promises to make reauthorization "an early priority."

Speaking of legislative priorities, a Californa Court of Appeal reversed the conviction of a man who had sex with a sleeping woman who believed he was her boyfriend.
A man enters the dark bedroom of an unmarried woman after seeing her boyfriend leave late at night, and has sexual intercourse with the woman while pretending to be the boyfriend. Has the man committed rape? Because of historical anomalies in the law and the statutory definition of rape, the answer is no, even though, if the woman had been married and the man had impersonated her husband, the answer would be yes.
Don't blame the judges. California law still differentiates between married and unmarried victims of rape who believe they are consenting to have sex with their partners. Courts have begged the California legislature to fix this law for 20 years when rapists went free because they impersonated lovers not husbands. Obviously, not a priority for elected officials in California.

Say what you will about Idaho, but after a 2010 case where a guy let his buddy have sex with his drunk girlfriend and the two were accquitted because she wasn't his wife, they fixed the damn law!

Maybe one day we won't care what proportion of elected officials are female. Maybe one day California will make it illegal to rape an unmarried woman. For today, we need women leaders who will prioritize women's issues. So, today's $5 is for EMILY's List, which works to "bring more women into politics and elected office." Let's make that a priority!

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