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Politics and Activism

The Government Shutdown Directly Put Women At Risk

The government shutdown not only puts people out of work, but puts them directly in harms way.

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The Government Shutdown Directly Put Women At Risk

We all know about the current state of our government: it's been partially shut down for over 30 days now, putting thousands of government employees out of work, without pay, and placing millions of American citizens at risk. The risk that we face seems fairly straightforward—TSA workers going on strike means that there is a potential risk with air travel, FDA workers being out of a job means that fruits and vegetables are not being properly inspected, and so forth.

Looking deeper, the government shutdown also means that there aren't enough funds being put towards essential bills and programs nationally. Because the budget is not being approved, one of the bills pending renewal is the Violence Against Women Act. The Violence Against Women Act was passed in 1991 with bipartisan support, and provides funding and support to many programs that assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault. The act was set to expire before the shutdown, in September of 2018, but was given an extension until December 7. Before this expiration date, the act was again given a short term extension, which ran out on December 21, as the US government went into a partial shutdown. While the expiration of the law does not affect the all grants and funding that have been previously administered by VAWA, it prevents the law from providing further aid to people and victims in need.

In September, House Democratic leader Nancy Pelosi sent a letter to House Speaker Paul Ryan, in which she criticized the Republican Party for solely pursuing temporary reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act. This letter references a new bill that is applicable to the act, which extends and expands it in order to provide victims and survivors of domestic abuse and sexual assault with more protection, including a measure to restrict the sale of firearms to perpetrators of these crimes, people subject to protection orders, and people convicted of stalking.

This bill, which serves the purpose of protecting those who have been harmed from undergoing any further trauma, seems to threaten the Republican Party, members of which only seem to see the bill as an act to restrict their Second Amendment rights. Funnily enough, I was under the impression that a bill introduced to protect victims of violent crimes—from the people that committed said crimes—doesn't encroach on anyone's right to arms in self-defense or to maintain a government free of tyranny. Actually, I don't see any logical argument as to how this form of gun control affects the larger population of people who own arms—unless, of course, the people who argue so vehemently about their rights to guns are the ones who are using these weapons on other people…

This law, one that addresses over

one million women subject to intimate partner violence in the united states, solely strives to help people live in safe environments. Meanwhile, the reauthorization of the act in concurrence with the new addition of the aforementioned bill is stuck without Republican support needed to get it passed. This plays a direct role in preventing these women and other victims from reaching safety, but it really seems that the majority of Republicans in Congress care about being reelected and not angering their constituents over a gun control law that will not affect them rather than the safety of over a million American citizens.
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