Angela Kelsey

Tell the Story

One of the One Billion Rising

Filed in Domestic Violence :: February 15, 2013

For months I’ve been wound up about Congress’s failure to reauthorize the landmark Violence Against Women Act.

The law was first passed in 1994, and reauthorized without incident in 2000 and 2005. It worked. More women had access to more protection from violence and abuse.

When it was time to reauthorize VAWA in 2011, additional provisions were added to offer protection to groups who need it–LGBT people, Native Americans, and immigrants. All of these groups experience intimate traumas at equal or greater rates than the rest of the population.  That’s when the trouble began. The law has become stuck in the mire of partisanship.

Even as I cheered the bill’s passage in the Senate on Tuesday, I fumed.

Do the 22 male senators who voted against it have no sisters, daughters, or mothers? Is protecting states’ rights to allocate funding and the rights of American-citizen men who commit rape or battering or sexual abuse on tribal lands more important than protecting the women who are or would be the victims of violent intimate crimes?

And I was frustrated with myself for my own supposed politeness and my unwillingness to write here about politics.

I went to the gym, and read the quote at the bottom of the white board:

I am angry enough to leave my polite no-overt-political-talk comfort zone.

Angry at the 22 Republican men of the Senate,  including Florida’s Marco Rubio, who voted no. Angry at the news media that was too obsessed with a manhunt  in California to give this issue any real coverage. Angry at the House which hasn’t even scheduled a vote.

Angry that one in three women on the planet will experience violence–sexual abuse, rape, domestic violence–in her lifetime.

That’s one billion women.

Today we rise.

I’ll see you outside the comfort zone.