As you may have already heard, the House passed the renewal of the Violence Against Women Act today. Isn’t it great how with just a strategically designed name, it becomes caustic to vote against a bill? “Oh my gosh! You voted against the Violence Against Women Act?! I can’t believe you don’t want to prevent violence against women!”
First of all, I thought women and men should be treated as equals. Yes? No? Oh, you mean women should be treated as equals as far as the workplace, but not when it comes to violence? Really? Well let me throw you a curve ball – how about workplace violence?
Tell you what. I support a Violence Against Children Act. I mean, isn’t violence against children important to prevent? But wait, children are also available in different sexes and we’ve declared that violence against women needs specific attention, so we need a Violence Against Female Children Act. Ok, good.
But wait! Some children are more susceptible to violence, like those who are physically smaller than their peers or who have disabilities, so let’s do a Violence Against Children Who May or May Not Be in the Lower 25th Percentile in Height Compared to Their Peers and Who Also May or May Not Be Physically and/or Mentally Disabled. Whew! Done!
Oh crap, wait! We forgot to include a sexual distinction in that last one so we need another one to Violence Against Female Children or Male Children Who May or May Not Be in the Lower… And on, and on, and on, and on.
It’s VIOLENCE people. VIOLENCE. Violence is bad, period. It’s not worse when it’s committed against a particular type of person. Is violence against men not as bad as violence against women? Then why do we need a completely separate effort to combat it?
I’ll tell you why. Because it’s a convenient political trick to divide us and demonize politicians who don’t believe that one type of violence deserves more attention than another. If you consider that administration of multiple efforts against violence actually dilutes the effectiveness of them all, those drafting, lobbying for, and voting for a non-universal anti-violence act are simply making things worse.
Furthermore, we already have an anti-violence mechanism, it’s called a justice system. Violence should be punished and efforts should be made to prevent it. Instituting something in addition to a justice system has the effect of taking resources away from one anti-violence effort and handing them to another, in the process adding layers upon layers of inefficiency and bloat.
Justice is swift, except when it gets bogged down in identity politics. Legislation such as the Violence Against Women Act does just that.