The Violence Against Women Act

914 Words Jul 15th, 2018 4 Pages
Economic and Political Context Long before its enactment on September 13, 1994, the foundation for the Violence Against Women Act was being constructed. More than 140 years ago, members of the U.S. government were working to end the injustice of violence against women when, in 1871, Alabama was the first state to make it illegal for a man to beat his wife (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). In 1967, one of the first domestic violence shelters in the country opened its doors in Maine; and from that time until 1994, progress slowly but steadily continued. Within the next 10 years, the first emergency rape hotline opened in the nation’s capital, and Pennsylvania alone established the first state coalitions against sexual assault and domestic …show more content…
When U.S. Attorney General Benjamin Civiletti formed the Department of Justice Task Force on Family Violence, it was the first time the department had examined the extent and effects of domestic violence in America. In the resulting report, the group provided recommendations “to improve the nation’s law enforcement, criminal justice and community response to offenses that, previously, were considered ‘family matters’” (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). Soon after, the Family Violence Prevention Services Act was passed by Congress, using the first federal monies explicitly allocated for programs serving battered women and their children (U.S. Department of Justice, 2010). The country was progressively changing the way Americans viewed domestic and sexual violence by bringing it to the nation’s attention.
In 1994, after a three-year Senate Judiciary Committee investigation into the causes and effects of violence against women, then Senator Joe Biden stated “Through this process, I have become convinced that violence against women reflects as much a failure of our nation’s collective moral imagination as is does the failure of our nation’s laws and regulations”, adding that “we are helpless to change the course of this violence unless, and until, we achieve a national consensus that it deserves our profound public outrage” (U.S. Department of
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