House Republicans have hijacked this year’s reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), empowering abusers and disempowering victims for political purposes. Their version is opposed by leading domestic violence prevention groups and the National Organization of Women, among others, yet Republican leaders continue to push it forward.
Yesterday, a Huffington Post piece revealed that a mail order bride company, a front group masquerading as an anti-domestic violence organization, has been lobbying House Republicans to pass the bill. They are specifically advocating for provisions that make it less likely for immigrant victims of domestic violence to come forward and report abuse. This group, Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), shares leadership with Encounters International, a mail order bride company.
As the story highlights:
SAVE has a major financial interest in reducing immigrant protections…One of the Russian brides matched by Encounters International sued the firm, claiming that she was beaten by her American husband, that the company failed to properly screen candidates and neglected to tell her about a law allowing immigrants to escape abusive marriages without fear of automatic deportation. A jury decided in favor of the Russian bride and awarded her $434,000 in compensatory and punitive damages. The case was affirmed upon appeal.
Instead of co-writing a VAWA bill with a shady mail order bride company, the GOP should help pass a bill that truly protects women.
The full story can be read at the Huffington Post.