Rush Limbaugh attacked the Violence Against Women Act, claiming it was legislation signed "under the guise that women are being beat to a pulp in this country" and a way of perpetuating the narrative that the GOP is waging a "war on women." But the act has been instrumental in fighting against domestic violence and sexual assault for nearly 20 years.
As President Obama signed VAWA on March 7, Limbaugh mocked the law on his radio program, saying it was pushed "under the guise that women are being beat to a pulp in this country because of the Republican war on women. Women are being beat up, they're being creamed, they're just being mistreated all over the place." Limbaugh went on to attack Obama for "praising the survivors. Women who have survived all of this hideous violence that's committed against and on them every day in this country":
But domestic violence is a serious issue, one that VAWA has provided effective tools in preventing and prosecuting. According to a 2010 survey by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18.3% of women were the victims of completed or attempted rape, 13% of women experienced sexual coercion, 27.2% of women experienced unwanted sexual contact, and more than one-third of women were the victims of rape, physical violence and/or stalking by an intimate partner.
Since its original passage in 1994, VAWA has proven to be an effective tool for combating domestic and sexual assault. In the American Bar Association Journal, Debbie Segal, who chairs the ABA Commission on Domestic & Sexual Violence, praised the act, calling it the "single most effective federal effort" against domestic violence:
"VAWA has been the single most effective federal effort to respond to the epidemic of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking in this country."
The act has ensured that "legal and social services are available to survivors, and that law enforcement, prosecutors, judges, attorneys and advocates are well-trained with cutting-edge resources to effectively address these crimes in their own communities."
The National Task Force to End Sexual and Domestic Violence Against Women pointed out that since VAWA's passage, "Victims of domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking have been able to access services, and a new generation of families and justice system professionals have come to understand that domestic violence, dating violence, sexual assault and stalking are crimes that our society will not tolerate." The National Network to End Domestic Violence wrote: "VAWA creates and supports comprehensive, cost-effective responses to the pervasive and insidious crimes of domestic violence, sexual assault, dating violence and stalking. Since its enactment in 1994, VAWA programs, administered by the Departments of Justice (DOJ) and Health and Human Services (HHS), have dramatically improved federal, tribal, state, and local responses to these crimes."