The Democratic War on women-only domestic violence shelters
The version of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) currently being held up by Republicans has an interesting provision barring discrimination against LGBT people by domestic violence shelters. One might wonder which shelters are being targeted and against whom they are discriminating. A troubling statistic is being tossed about, that
45 percent of LGBT victims were turned away when they sought help from a domestic violence shelter, according to a 2010 survey
(see this page on myths about VAWA ). So the solution in this bill, according to this page about VAWA myths, is
All victims deserve services. No program being funded by federal VAWA dollars should be allowed to turn away a domestic violence victim because of his or her sexual orientation or gender identity.
To find out what discrimination this new provision is targeted against, which survivors are actually being turned away, I looked up the source of this statistic, a study from the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs which states on page 27:
The proportion increase of survivors turned away from shelters highlights that many mainstream domestic violence shelters are not equipped to house male-identified and/or transgender survivors, and many still have policies that explicitly prohibit male-identified and transgender survivors from accessing their shelter. These policies create substantial barriers for accessing safety for LGBTQH IPV survivors. As a result, LGBTQH survivors may only have access to homeless shelters, which may not be equipped to support LGBTQH IPV survivors’ needs. Homeless shelters may not have staff that are familiar with LGBTQH terminology, access to gender neutral restrooms and accommodations, knowledge of LGBTQH IPV issues, and institutional policies to prevent discrimination and violence within the shelter for LGBTQH survivors. These statistics demonstrate the need for increased advocacy regarding LGBTQH survivors’ access to domestic violence shelters.
So it appears this new provision is not meant primarily to force shelters for battered women to accept lesbians or bisexual women. I doubt that kind of discrimination is much of a problem. The problem seems to be, some shelters do not want to take in battered gay males or transwomen. A shelter that wishes to remain for women only will evidently not be eligible for federal funds. Way to go, Democrats! It just goes to show, the war on women is waged across the political spectrum, however much Democrats may wish to pretend it is these radical Republicans who are waging war on women.