JUST TOPPED ‘magic number’ of 60 bipartisan cosponsors of my #VAWA legisl.; We’re moving briskly toward Senate vote on the Leahy-Crapo Bill
— Sen. Patrick Leahy (@SenatorLeahy) January 31, 2013
The Senate is poised to pass the Violence Against Woman Act. Again. And just as it did last time, the version of the bill being passed by the Senate will include protections for native American tribes, immigrants, and members of the LGBT community.
According to Talking Points Memo, a provision to issue more visas to victims of abuse who are immigrants was dropped from the bill at the behest of John Boehner, but that doesn’t necessarily ensure that the bill will pass the House.
Other members of the House, most notably Majority Leader Eric Cantor, have their own qualms with the content of the bill, specifically the provision that affords tribes the right to prosecute perpetrators from beyond their borders.
As we’ve covered here before, Native American women suffer disproportionately from sexual assault and domestic abuse because tribes do not have the proper jurisdiction.
In some rural villages, rapes are 12 times more common than the national rate, and for Native American women, generally sexual assault is more than twice as common as the national average, according to The New York Times. The Alaska Federation of Natives cites a 2010 report by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, finding that while only 15.2 percent of Alaskans are Native American, they are the victims of 50 percent of the domestic violence and 61 percent of the sexual assaults committed in the state. [...]
The men who commit these crimes are often not Native American themselves. Indian Country reports that “non-Indians commit 88%” of rapes and domestic violence against Native American women, but they are beyond the reach of local justice: “antiquated jurisdictional laws” prevent tribal justice systems “from prosecuting non-Native criminals.”
Eric Cantor blocked the bill from passing during the 112th congress because of the tribal provision. Will he change his mind?