How many times have we heard someone walking down the street or in the same room as us talking about how they’re going to “check” their woman? Or how many times have we heard men call a woman a b*tch or a ho? How many times have we ignored the lyrics to a song where some guy is rhyming about how he keeps his woman in place or straight up beats her if she “gets out of line”? Whether it’s on a track or something we actually hear in person, comments like these about violence against women should never be tolerated. Who in their right mind thinks it’s OK to beat on a woman? Well if you don’t, then why do you let your boys make jokes about it, and why do we memorize lyrics that talk about it? Every day, on average, three women die as a result of domestic violence. We’re not talking about a random tragedy, or an attack from a stranger, but from someone who these women knew and trusted.
Think about that for a minute. Three women every single day.
SEE ALSO: Who Should Be Face Of Chicago Violence?
Domestic violence and violence against women in general knows no boundaries; rich, poor, Black, White, urban, suburban, rural — women from all corners of society are affected. Recognizing this urgent crisis, Vice President Joe Biden and Attorney General Eric Holder announced a new Domestic Violence Homicide Prevention Initiative (DVHP) this past Wednesday.
The Department of Justice says it will award $2.3 million in grant money to help states and local jurisdictions across the country reduce domestic violence homicides by identifying potential victims and monitoring high-risk offenders.
As we honor Women’s History Month, what could be more appropriate?
“Many of these women have been threatened or severely abused in the past,” said Biden at the initiative’s announcement. “We know what risk factors put someone in greater danger of being killed by the person they love – and that also means we have the opportunity to step in and try to prevent these murders. That’s why these grants are so important. They’ll help stop violence before it turns deadly.”
The program’s goal is to connect women who may be in a potentially fatal relationship and connect them with law enforcement and other authorities. Too many times we hear about helpless women who don’t know where to go to seek help; this may just be the way in which they could be saved in time.
It’s nice to see our elected officials not only care about the well-being of women, but actually do something about it.
Last week, President Barack Obama signed the Violence Against Women Act Re-Authorization. After partisan attempts at blocking the re-authorization, the President was finally able to put his pen to this vital legislation that includes an expansion of protections to gay couples and Native Americans as well.
The act authorizes $659 million over five years to programs that enhance responses to crimes against women (and some men). While many tried to attack women and our civil liberties last year, President Obama emphasized his commitment to enhancing the rights of women and girls.
He has once again delivered on that promise.
As the workforce and our environment continue to diversify, it helps to have more women in positions of power. For the first time in nearly 10 years, the Senate held a hearing this week on rape and sexual assault in the military. Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri, who sits on the Armed Services Committee (among others), introduced new legislation and called rape “the crime of a coward.”
Her legislation imposes new requirements that strengthen accountability in the Uniform Code of Military Justice – the legal code followed by the military. We, both women and men, should be thankful that this problem is finally being addressed on a national level. Rape has no place in society, and definitely not in our military. The women of the army and navy sign up to defend us – they shouldn’t have to defend themselves from men who should be on their side.
President Obama, Vice President Biden, AG Holder, and Sen. McCaskill have all shown their commitment to combating violence against women.
Now it’s up to us to do the same.
The victims are our mothers, sisters, aunts, cousins, loved ones, and neighbors. They are professional women, students, teachers, housewives, and soldiers. The reality is, these victims are all around us and it’s time we open our eyes and lend a helping hand because three women a day is three too many.