Ok. So why do they call it the "Violence Against Women Act?

Let’s say men don’t ever suffer from violence against females, and men are the only ones capable of such toxic behavior.

What about gay male relationships?

Maybe I’m missing something, (I often do,) and I’m not trying to be snarky… There could be a logical explanation for it. I just don’t see why it’s specific to women.

Because the title of an act is not actually meant to be a full legal reading of the act. If you accuse someone under a law, you don’t tell the judge “Well, your honor, it was violence, and it was against a woman, and there’s an act called the Violence Against Women Act”. No, you actually read provisions from the actual law. And the provisions in this actual law do protect men. But the law was written to address violence against women, which is a huge problem in this country, so they named it the Violence Against Women Act.

Because it was an act.

Written to address violence against women.

The huge problem discussed earlier.

EDIT: And by the way, the act is not actually named “The Violence Against Women Act”. It’s name is H.R.3355 - Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act of 1994 because it was written in the House of Representatives (hence H.R.) and it was the three thousandth three hundredth and fifty fifth bill passed by Congress. It is an act, meant to Control Violent Crime as well as regulate Law Enforcement, and it was signed in 1994.

Because if you vote against it, the other side can say you are in favor of violence against women or don’t care about protecting women from violence. That’s often how bills get named. Vote against the Patriot Act and you’re not a patriot!! :eek:

From Wikipedia:

So, if your question is literally, why do we call it that, then I’ll have to do some more research

To be fair attempts by organizations to amend VAWA to provide equal coverage for men have failed.

Today’s world is sexist and the 1990’s were worse off. They tried to fix it in 2005 and 2013 but the reality is that there was a problem that needed to be solved and that problem was mostly hidden and even today Men who are victims are actually put under similar pressures with the addition of being subject to emasculation.

Government is an iterative process and groups are working hard to make this better but you have to remember that we are still in a world where women are blamed for being beaten and raped and it is even harder for people to believe that men can be so too.

Here is one paper that explains some of the challenges.

Real men can’t get raped: an examination of gendered rape myths and sexual assault among undergraduates

And under the Obama administration the gender neutrality of this was starting to be addressed.

The reality is that if you have to choose between ~19% or ~2% of a population the political process will often just focus on addressing the largest group of victims first.

And “Violence Against Women Act” is specifically the name of Title IV out of 23 Titles in the full Law, which Title IV in turn is not all of it necessarily women-specific, but as **Babale **points out, its provisions *were *drafted to address violent offences that disproportionately affected women. Just so happens they got expressed mostly in gender-neutral language. As rat avatar quotes, even then male victims still have issues with getting it so applied in practice and attempts to make it clear it is gender neutral tend to fail because then the fear becomes the oponents will take the opportunity to water it all down to ineffectiveness.

Having seen legislative processes go down I suspect that it started with an idea of creating a specifically Violence Against Women Act or Amendment, then as more supporters signed on and more work was done on it that idea was elaborated into more generally addressing various issues of Domestic Violence, and then when it came to actualy passing legislation, it, together with a bunch of other crime-and-punishment proposals, were conglomerated into the Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act, with Title IV keeping the “Violence Against Women Act” reference to make the point – and the sale.

That is one interesting trait of federal laws, you can subsume other proposals into a larger bill and get to keep the title thereof as if you had passedit independently. For instance the FAA Reauthorization Act as just approved contains inside it the Disaster Recovery Reform Act, which had been earlier passed by the House as a stand-alone bill but had not made progress in the Senate.

Who are the organizations, what specific proposals did they come up with, and who opposed them? I’m just not familiar with this issue at all.

Yep, the topic typically attracts the "mens rights" or “incel” crowds so even people working on it tend to keep it low-key. Not very useful to have legitimate policy issues hijacked by those who want to maintain a violent setting for everyone or to completely block legislation.


I am willing to bet that at some point the fact I pointed out this limitation to the law and process will be used to dismiss the need for the laws at all at sometime in this thread.

I will be honest some lots of activists in the battered women’s movement suffer from belief in the same myths and have blocked this subject in the past with all groups. That is also part of the reason in the 1990’s when even helping out gay people wasn’t possible that they had to target women to get the law to pass.

Like all of these problems ignorance and stereotypes rule the day. Some of the “mens rights” groups were formed due to this very real issue. But they almost universally get taken over by a masculism and are warped into taking on an an anti-feminism bent and the original valid concerns and needs are lost.

The egalitarian need will have to be worked on by policy workers slowly like in this case it seems until the more commonly effected female population is addressed and the cultural sensitivities that block progress on both needs is diminished to the point where rational discussion can happen.

This is a challenging problem with victimized groups but if you want to help make sure you are not judgmental to any victims of rapists and abusers etc…

To be 100% crystal clear here, most perpetrators of sexual violence are men even when the victims are men. This is almost certainly a cultural issue but is there and the 1:1 stat on perpetrators hasn’t been demonstrated as true. The truth seems closer that about twice as many women are victims as men for domestic violence but the numbers aren’t well known.

Treating anybody who have been the victims of abuse with respect and compassion should be the goal. The law was changed to adjust that be we just aren’t there yet for resources but efforts are being made.

But there are resources and because it can be hard to differentiate between MRM sites and more helpful and respectful resources I will share some reliable links.

For male victims of sexual abuse http://www.malesurvivor.org/
National Domestic Violence Hotline https://www.thehotline.org

Abuse is not a joke, in any situation, no matter who perpetrates it or who the victim happens to be.

I want to make it crystal clear that lots of progress has happened over the past couple of decades and there are options for help now.


I was going to put this in GQ, but didn’t know if it was a contentious issue or not.

Thanks for the contributions and even the links provided if anyone needs assistance.

Yep . . . or to put it another way; the title of a bill is a marketing tool, and may or may not have a practical relation to all or some of its contents.

“It tells me they really wanted it to end up spelling SHIELD”

Heck, you can have the title actually refers to something in the bill but only partly or obliquely; or the bill may be a bill that could be named more directly and still be worth evaluating on straight merit, but you still go for the marketing point. e.g. the aforementioned USAPATRIOT Act, or a recent bill called the Hearing Protection Act which deals with exactly only *one *type of hearing protection device and is really about deregulating sales.

Thanks for the link. But I’m not clear that there’s a specific change to law that’s being proposed? Seems like the author is more concerned with the attention being paid to men as victims of violence - both by society and by support organizations. Am I missing something in terms of how the law is not sufficient to cover male victims? Or am I reading the article correctly as more pointing out the lack of attention to this aspect of domestic violence?

No, previous to the last changes the rules were set where state violence commissions were barred from offering victims services to men.

While implementation varied by state often they couldn’t help men if they wanted at all.

There were similar issues with LGBTQ needs. Remember this happened at a similar time as DOMA when even the Democrats were in a huge panic about gays getting married after the Hawaii court decision.

While this act was fixed there are still some other barriers to funding of local services.

The immigration provisions of the existing version of VAWA, at least, are gender-neutral, and I have known men who were granted permanent residence under VAWA as initially written.

Eva Luna, Immigration Paralegal

Here is a link to FAQ issued when the nondiscrimination grant condition was added in 2014.

Which added the “comparable services” requirement for services and allows the use of the programs funds.

In 2005 they amended Section 40002 [Definitions and Grant Provisions] section (b), paragraph 8

To add:

Which clarified that grant conditions did not prohibit recipients of federal financial
assistance under covered grants from non-offender services to men in any “program or activity”

I don’t think that there was any intent by congress to prevent funding for men in the 1994 legislation, but the grant conditions were sometimes interpreted as prohibiting it. Related programs like STOP did intend to restrict funding to men for services which will be shown below.

Unfortunately, if equal treatment for all under the law is a groups goal, you are pretty much forced to only use gender neutral language when discussing these issues or risk being overrun by MRM groups, which like this one focus on the “unfairness” or bad actions by some random female and not on fixing the problem.

I hate to give these sites any traffic but note how many rape myths and “bad women” stories there are on this page as an example and how almost none of the content targets the problem or offers services but just tries to shift blame.

As a paralegal, if this was a more rational area of discourse, these would be trivial for you to find via keyword.

Here is an example from the STOP program to demonstrate another form of issue, which ironically would have been easier to solve without the MRM interference.

Post 2005, things were really complicated, the restriction on funds only being allowed for education of men still existed, but there was an unfunded mandate to have equal services for men. As these services typically didn’t even exist for women without these grants, they simply didn’t exist for men.

The frustrating part is that this type of bias in law will happen when you have a group pushing for a specific need. But it is the MRM type groups who really made it difficult to fix the initial issues with the legislation.

As those groups are born from a persecution complex this creates a feedback loop that blocks faster progress.

What is your point? I never claimed any knowledge whatsoever about any VAWA provisions other than immigration-related ones, and even there, only the set of provisions that allow for the grant of permanent residence based on having experienced domestic violence or other domestic abuse. I made no search whatsoever of VAWA, just shared one bit of knowledge. Not debating, just sharing info relevant to a GQ.

The point was to help share additional information, nothing else except helping you avoid a ton of pain sifting through * mens rights* BS.

If I had a challenge to your post I would have called out what I was disputing.

Well, the prevalence of domestic violence against men is comparable to that against women, but probably the results are graver on the average.

From the Wikipedia

IPV- intimate partner violence